Choose your own doomsday analogy and seek cover if you’re heading online early next week, because this has potential to get ugly. Jake Arrieta is slated to take the bump when the Phillies come to Wrigley Monday, the first time the former Cy Young winner will face his old team in any capacity. Barring any changes over the next six days, his scheduled counterpart will be none other than Yu Darvish, who essentially replaced Arrieta in the rotation.
Though Arrieta has been more durable and consistent than Darvish since the start of last season, neither has been the pitcher their new teams thought they were getting. The Bearded One has an ERA near 4.00 and has posted two of the lowest K/BB ratios (2.42 and 2.21) of his career, largely as a function of reduced strikeout totals. Despite an uptick in velocity since signing in Philly, Arrieta’s breaking pitches simply haven’t been as sharp as before.
If you’re reading this, chances are good you’re a Cubs fan and already know what’s up with Darvish, so I’m not going to bother with that. Dude’s still got all his stuff, but his command has been abysmal so far this season. And if that continues Monday night while Arrieta does anything other than suck out loud, it’s not gonna be fun to watch. Or hear.
The only reason I’m even putting this out there now is to sort of take some of the air out of the balloon or give this thing enough runway to peter out a little bit over the next few days. Maybe that won’t help much, but if I can spread some of the “Cubs should of resigned Arrieta” taeks out of the way early, I feel I’ve done my job.
What would be really wonderful and far more than we deserve is for Darvish to shove, notching strikeouts galore of Bryce Harper and Co. while the Cubs pound Arrieta into Bolivian. But since I still harbor some sort of genetic Catholic guilt, part of me is convinced that God wants to smite me with a Jake the Snake no-no.
Would that really be all that bad, though? I mean, the Cubs went crazy after being no-hit by the Phillies in 2015. Nah, you’re right, the fallout from another such game would be nigh unbearable. So yeah, maybe avoid that outcome.