The Pirates have one of the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball going for them today.
No. Not Jeff Locke, who is starting for the Pirates against the Braves tonight.
The Pirates big advantage, tonight, in their quest to catch the Cardinals for the National League Central Division title comes in the form of “their new Ace,” Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta will be starting for the Cubs tonight, in their game against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. It has probably gone unnoticed outside of the North Side of Chicago, but Jake Arietta has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball this year.
Arrieta ranks 8th in the major leagues, with a 2.79 xFIP. And his ERA is even better at 2.65. He has struck out 9.44 per 9 innings, while walking only 2.41/9IP and allowing just 0.3 HR/9IP. His groundball rate is well-above league average at 48.3%.
Arrieta’s numbers are not simply good. They are excellent. And they put the Pirates in good stead to finish the night one-half game behind the Cardinals.
Cardinals starter John Lackey isn’t bad, but he doesn’t come close to Arrieta. He has a 3.46 xFIP, 3.86 ERA, 7.34 K/9IP, 2.02 BB/9, and 1.13 HR/9.
Arrieta has made three starts against the Cardinals this year, posting a 1.76 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and a 2.34 FIP.
Lackey has pitched against the Cubs one time this year. He threw 6.1 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 9 hits, 1 walk, and a home run. He struck out 6.
These are Lackey’s numbers in his 9 starts since being acquired by the Cardinals at the trade deadline:
That does not stack up well against Arrieta’s last 9 games:
And Arrieta’s numbers at Wrigley, where tonight’s face-off with the Cardinals is being held, are just as good: 2.93 xFIP, .171 batting average against, 0.82 WHIP.
Bet the Cubs – and the Pirates new ace, Jake Arrieta. Play responsibly.