To say 28-year-old Jake Arrieta is having a breakout season for the Chicago Cubs is an understatement. Arrieta has broken out and then some. Prior to Tuesday night he’d taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning in one game and into the seventh in another.
Tuesday night he no-hit the Reds into the eighth inning plus one out. Then Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips ruined all the fun. He doubled to center on an 0-2 pitch. It was deep and just out of reach of diving center fielder Matt Szczur. It was a valiant effort on Szczur’s part but it was a hit none the less.
Until then only a walk to Billy Hamilton had stood between Arrieta and perfection. Still, it was a milestone for the kid from Farmington, MO. He was able to finish his first career complete game. It was a shutout and a 1-hitter.
It’s tragic yet still beautiful at the same time. So close but so far away. Yet, pitching so flawlessly when you are going up against Reds’ ace, and National League Cy Young Award candidate, Johnny Cueto and getting the win, plus the first complete game of your career is something to celebrate.
Only three individual pitchers have managed to throw no-hitters this year: Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and Josh Beckett but none have come as close to pitching three of them as Arrieta has. It was his third no-hit bid of the season and his second against the Reds that he had taken into the seventh inning.
The Philadelphia Phillies also threw an even more rare combined no-hitter this season but there hasn’t been a single perfect game whereas in the past four years there had been five perfect games recorded, numbers 19-23 in baseball history.
Arrieta lowered his ERA from 2.82 to 2.65 and struck out, another career-high milestone, 13 batters.