Jake Arrieta pitched five and two thirds innings Wednesday tonight with brilliant ease. He worked the entire strike zone with very good command of all his pitches. His 93 to 94 mph sinkers and fastballs had life. His 86 to 88 sliders were not Cory Kluber like ‘nasty’ but were located where hitters couldn’t hit them. Mix in a few 81 curveballs with good spin, carry a no- hitter into the sixth inning and he looked like a CY Young calibre pitcher for the Cubs.
But alas the magic analytical number of pitches were met and off with his head. I think these pitchers see their pitch count and get it in their head that they are done. Arrieta gets to 94 -98 pitches and becomes average. I can’t see anyone pitching a no- hitter in the World Series ever again because of the pitch count thinking baseball gurus of today.
At this point I thought we would see an avalanche of bullpen guys brought in by Captain Hook Joe Maddon, manager of the Cubs. Sure the thought of bringing in a fresh arm sounds good, but how many times do we see a starter totally dominating batters, only to be taken out because of a pitch count? Then we see his replacement stink up the joint that changes the complexion of a game.
Fortunately for the Cubs, that didn’t happen as they send the series back home even at a game apiece. . The Cubs Mike Montgomery, who was Trevor Bauer’s high school teammate was lights out. As for his former teammate, Cleveland’s eccentric oddball Trevor Bauer, while giving up two runs over three and two thirds innings did what he was asked to do tonight.
Give the Indians some innings with minimal damage. I would preferred to see this former first round pick (3rd overall in 2011 for Arizona) pitch, just to see what he can do.
We will never know. Today’s Major League pitchers are groomed to pitch six innings and that today is a “Quality Start”. The top pitchers in baseball now and for the past number of years only average 6 2/3 innings, no matter what inning they get to it is their pitch count that determines when their day is done.
I will continue to say that Cub’s Ben Zobrist will be the player that will give the Indians the most trouble. He has totalled five hits in eight at bats, with eight total bases for the first two games. His young teammate Kyle Schwarber looks like he is just getting started. He has the most frightening swing I have seen since Manny Ramirez.
How can Maddon keep him out of the lineup? He should be in the outfield Friday
Aroldis Chapman continues to thrill crowds with fastballs that are now being measured by NASA. He can be hit, but not in Game 2, a four -hour and four minute game where the Cubs evened the series at one game each.
So now we go to Chicago, to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field where the Indians will face Kyle Hendricks who is coming off of a masterpiece against the Dodgers. Good luck with that Cleveland. So let’s get ready for a fun night as the city of Chicago hosts their first World Series since 1945.
The Cubs could put this series away with a win Friday.
Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.