When Jake Arrieta found himself at 110 pitches with one out in the ninth and two strikes on Jimmy Rollins, everyone was silently hoping for the same thing. When strike three came around on the next pitch, it felt like the whole world was watching, waiting.
Chase Utley took the plate and everyone was wondering if this would be the guy to put a stop to the possible no-hitter. Utley missed a slow curveball, fouled a 96-mph fastball.. and missed again for a third strike. The crowd exhaled for the first time in minutes to celebrate. He did it: Jake Arrieta pitched a no-hitter! Arrieta was immediately surrounded by his teammates in a shared moment of pure elation.
The Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. This marks Arrieta’s first career no-hitter. He lowered his ERA to 0.43 and ended 6-0 for August becoming the first Cubs pitcher with that many wins in the month since Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 and tying Boston’s Joe Kelly as the only pitchers with that many wins in the month.
This marks the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season and second against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 days. Never before has Los Angeles been no-hit twice in one season.
The last time the Cubs threw a no-hitter was at Miller Park way back in 2008 against the Astros. That was the year the game had to be moved to Miller Park in Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike.
Arrieta admitted to ESPN’s Buster Olney that he thought Starlin Castro’s error early in the game was actually a hit. “Tough play,” said Arrieta, “Hernandez hit it well. Tough short hop for Castro. They scored it an error, thankfully so, and I was able to finish it off.” It was in the third inning of the game. The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez hit a hard ball at second baseman Starlin Castro. The ball took a short hop and Castro wasn’t able to handle it. Hernandez made it safely to first.
A refreshing Gatorade bath interrupted before the interview could be continued.
He wasn’t the only one to question the error. The Dodgers don’t think he pitched a no-hitter. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said “Just ask Arrieta. He said it was a hit. I asked five of their players when they were on the bases and they all thought it was a hit. But you know what? He threw a great game. Hats off to him.”
“I think it will be more special the longer it sets in,” Arrieta contemplated. “Come a long way, keep getting better.”
During his postgame interview, manager Joe Maddon described the atmosphere in the dugout as “a respectful buzz. Nobody was too loud.”
Arrieta (dressing to match the rest of the team for their pajama-themed trip back to O’Hare) showed up at his news conference wearing a onesie with little mustaches on it.
“A little tight,” he described it.
The Cubs grabbed a four-game skid on the last night of their six-game West Coast tour. It was a great way to end the biggest road trip the Cubs have done in eight years.
Last year, Arrieta became the first Cubs pitcher since 1950 to take a no-hitter into the seventh inning three times in one season. Two of those came in consecutive starts, making him the first to do so since Toronto’s Dave Stieb in June 1988. Arrieta is proving to be the guy to watch out for.
Shane Stirling of Cairns, Queensland is an HR Manager and long-time baseball fan . To learn more about his life and career, please visit his professional website.