Arrieta, Cubs keep Mets offense on ice

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Chicago.

    Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Chicago. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/20/2021 11:19 PM

The goal for the Cubs on Tuesday was to keep the New York Mets in a deep freeze.

Temperatures were in the upper 30s at Wrigley Field. It was probably colder on opening day, but this was the first really frigid night game of the season.

 

As is his custom, Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta took the mound in short sleeves with bare arms and got the job done. He gave up a solo home run to J.D. Davis, but overall allowed just 3 hits over 5 innings, to go with 3 walks.

"When I'm out there, I don't really get all that cold," Arrieta said. "The most important thing is keeping the right hand warm. If you're able to do that, it makes your job a little bit easier. The wind wasn't really heavy tonight, so that didn't allow the cold to creep in as much as it could in this park."

Arrieta said he hopped on the exercise bike a few times to try to stay warm when he wasn't on the mound. And he also used the changeup more Tuesday than he has previously this season.

"The curveball was a pitch for me that was hard to throw tonight," he said. "I had a good one in the first inning, but had a hard time holding onto the baseball tonight. The cold was a factor, but also the balls were very slick.

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"Sometimes when the balls get rubbed up a little too much, there's kind of a layer of dust on the balls that can create an issue grip-wise. So I was able to maneuver and do some things different, throw some change-ups, rely on the cutter at times."

Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker, a Louisiana native, also wore short sleeves, but he gave up 6 walks, which were more damaging than the 2 Cubs hits.

Relievers Rex Brothers, Brandon Workman and Andrew Chafin kept the Mets quiet for three innings, but closer Craig Kimbrel got into a jam for the first time this season.

Kimbrel walked two batters with one out, then gave up a single to pinch-hitter Luis Guillorme to load the bases. It was the first hit given up by Kimbrel all season. But he struck out Brandon Nimmo and got Francisco Lindor on a weak grounder to first to seal his fourth save and extend his scoreless streak to 15⅓ innings, going back to last September.

Both offenses were relatively quiet on this cold night. The Cubs finished with 4 hits, the Mets had 5, but mistakes ended up deciding the outcome.

The Cubs' first run scored on a throwing error. Eric Sogard walked, was bunted to second and came around to score when Davis' throw was in the dirt on a grounder by Willson Contreras.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

More Mets sloppiness led to 2 runs in the fourth. With two outs, Jason Heyward singled for the first Cubs' hit of the day. He stole second, with the benefit of a clever slide. The Mets challenged the call and it was upheld.

On the very next pitch after the replay review, Sogard singled to drive in Heyward with the second run. After that, Walker walked Arrieta, Ian Happ and Contreras to force in a third run. After throwing 91 pitches in less than 4 innings, Walker was removed from the game and was tossed by the home plate umpire for complaining on the way to the dugout.

Most of the Cubs are used to playing in cold weather, but outfielder Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California and spent the first seven years of his major-career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I'm kind of disappointed it's not a day game," Pederson said before the game. "I don't think I would have ever said that. I used to be like, 'I really love night games. Day games are the worst.' Being here, you get on a nice schedule where the day games are fun. You're already up in the morning and even if it is a little chilly, the sun's out, which makes it a little better.

"So I guess I'm dreading that the sun's not out and it could be even colder. So too bad it's not a day game."

Former Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr., now with the Mets, came in as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning.

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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