Fresh off series wins over the two top teams in the National League West, the Brewers were back at it today against National League Central cellar dweller, the Chicago Cubs.
Prior to 2014, Arrieta was a lauded, but under-performing starting pitcher. Since joining the Orioles rotation in 2010, he hadn’t posted an ERA lower than 4.66 or a FIP lower than 4.05 across four seasons.
For the 2014 season, Arrieta ditched his extremely hittable four-seam fastball for a two-seamer with more movement.
In 2014 Arrieta is sporting a 2.80 ERA and 2.24 FIP. At 103 innings and 17 starts, he doesn’t qualify for the National League pitching leader boards, but if he did he would be 6th in ERA, second in FIP and 4th in WAR.
Tonight served as Milwaukee’s introduction to Arrieta and he didn’t disappoint, giving up just two. Fortunately for the Brewers, Gallardo was dealing and did him one run better, pitching Milwaukee to a 3-1 win.
Braun whiffed but reached first on a wild pitch to put runners at the corners but an Aramis Ramirez double-play ground out ended the inning. Gallardo put the Cubs down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs in the top of the second, Mark Reynolds popped his 20th home run of the year to give Milwaukee the early lead. 2014 is the seventh straight season of 20 or more home runs for Reynolds.
Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the second with a single, but three batters later, after two outs, he was caught stealing by Lucroy to end the inning. The ruling was challenged, but Castro was still out after the review.
Arrieta set the Brewers down in order in the top of the third, going through Gallardo, Gomez and Lucroy. Gallardo worked around an Arrieta single in the bottom half of the frame.
Arrieta had another perfect inning in the top of the fourth. Javier Baez doubled down the line in left to lead off the bottom half of the inning but that was it for the Cubs as Gallardo shut them down.
Arrieta worked another one-two-three inning in the top of fifth, making 10 straight Brewers retired since Reynolds home run. Justin Ruggiano singled with one-out in the bottom half of the frame. Welington Castillo followed with a single of his own to put two on.
After an Arrieta strike out on a foul bunt, Chris Coghlan drove home Ruggiano with a grounder down the line in right. It took a bad hope on Reynolds and he couldn’t make the play, leading to the run and a tie game. Baez lined out to end the inning.
Arrieta upped his streak to 13 straight Brewers retired with a three-up, three-down inning in the sixth. Yovani returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning, setting down the Cubs in order.
Braun thought it was going to be caught so he tagged up and ended up thrown out at home. Khris Davis followed with a double to bring in Gennett and give Milwaukee the 2-1 lead. Coghlan made a leaping catch on a Reynolds line drive to end the inning.
Gallardo came back out of the seventh and quickly put down Arismendy Alcantara, Ruggiano and Castillo to end the inning still holding a 2-1 lead.
Gallardo threw seven innings and allowed one run on six hits and no walks. He struck out six.
Arrieta came back out for the eighth inning for the Cubs. After a ground out by Segura, pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay drew a walk, ending Arrieta’s night. Pedro Strop came on for the Cubs and got a double-play ground out from Gomez to end the inning.
Arrieta threw 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits and one walk. He struck out four.
Will Smith came on to pitch the eighth for Milwaukee. Smith got a couple ground outs and a strike out of Baez to end the frame.
Justin Grimm came on to toss the ninth for the Cubs. After getting Lucroy and Braun quickly, Ramirez knocked a double down the line in left. Scooter Gennett followed with a single up the middle to drive in Ramirez, and advance to second on the throw home. Davis flew out to end the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez came in to work on the save for Milwaukee with a 3-1 lead. Anthony Rizzo struck out to cap a 13-pitch at bat. Castro followed with a slow roller for an infield hit on a check swing. Ramirez fielded and threw but he couldn’t get the speedy Castro.
Luis Valbuena bounced into a fielder’s choice ground out to second. Gennett fired to Segura to get the lead runner for the second out. K-Rod struck out Alcantara to end the game.
Gallardo earned his 7th win of the season and Rodriguez his 36th save. Arrieta took the loss for Chicago, his 4th of the season.