Arrieta aiming to stay spectacular for Cubs in Game 3 of NLDS
Jake Arrieta has not lost a game since July 25, a span of 14 starts. Let that marinate for a moment.
"He's been pitching ... what can I even say?" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "You've all been watching. He's been spectacular."
Spectacular might not be a strong enough adjective to describe Arrieta, who was 11-0 with a 0.41 ERA in 12 starts from Aug. 4 through the end of the regular season before pitching a complete game shutout against the Pirates in the National League wild-card game.
"It's been a little hard to really sit back and reflect on everything, just because of what we have in store for us the following day," Arrieta said during Sunday's workout day at Wrigley Field. "We've had so much that we've had to prepare for. Obviously trying to win the division about a month, month and a half ago, still really in the mix for the division title, Pittsburgh right behind St. Louis, ahead of us. So we've been trying to chase some guys and just trying to come out every day and win our next game regardless of who we've been playing.
"That's been the primary focus, but I think obviously once the season comes to an end, hopefully the beginning of November, then I'll really be able to enjoy it a little bit further and kind of put some of those memories on display and talk about them and try and enjoy it."
For as historically spectacular as he's been the past three months, Arrieta is taking nothing for granted as he prepares for Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday at Wrigley.
The Cubs and Cardinals are tied at 1-1.
Arrieta is well aware that Toronto Blue Jays ace David Price was shelled in Game 1 of the ALDS by the Texas Rangers, and he knows Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw labored in Game 1 of the NLDS against the New York Mets.
While the Cubs' 29-year-old righty has every right to be supremely confident, he is taking nothing for granted.
"It's a little bit different in October," Arrieta said. "It seems like everybody, their mentality is in that sweet spot where they're not really fazed by anything. Everybody is pretty locked in at this point in the season and that's why the good teams still remain."
The Cubs seem to have a big advantage in Game 3 with Arrieta opposing slumping St. Louis starter Michael Wacha.
The MVP of the 2013 NLCS after pitching 13.2 scoreless innings in 2 starts against the Dodgers, Wacha was limited last October by a shoulder injury.
He came out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Giants and served up a 3-run walkoff homer to Travis Ishikawa that put San Francisco in the World Series.
Wacha was 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA this season but faded in September while going 2-3 with a 7.88 ERA.
"Honestly, I've been feeling good," said Wacha, who last pitched on Sept. 30. "I'm excited about getting out there on Monday and getting back out on the mound. It's been a while, but I'm definitely excited to get back out there. Just overall, I've been feeling good body-wise, arm-wise, and I'm just ready to get out there."
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