On June 8th, 2005, scouting director Jack Zduriencik and the Milwaukee Brewers selected right handed pitcher Jake Arrieta out of Weatherford College in the 26th round (775th overall) of the MLB Draft. Surprisingly within a few years Arrieta had shot up the top prospect lists, ranking in the top-100 per Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus in both 2009 and 2010 before making his big league debut as a 24 year old in 2010.
Arrieta struggled during his first few seasons in the major leagues but it's arguable that he may in fact be the best pitcher on the planet right now. Arrieta captured the Cy Young Award last season after finishing with a 22-6 record in 33 starts. He threw 229.0 innings with an incredible 1.77 ERA and 2.35 FIP while posting a K/BB ratio of 4.92. He also notably threw his first career no-hitter against on August 30th, 2015 against the Dodgers. Arrieta is off to a similarly dominating start through his first four appearances this season and threw his second no-hitter in his last start six days ago against Cincinnati on April 21st.
Unfortunately, none of these occurrences happened while Arrieta was wearing Brewers' blue. Milwaukee failed to sign Arrieta as a 19 year old in 2005, and shortly thereafter he transferred to TCU and was eventually selected in the fifth round of the 2007 draft and signed by the Baltimore Orioles. He was rather infamously included in a 2013 trade to the Cubs and has since seen his career take off while playing for the North Siders.
The Orioles have acquired RHP Scott Feldman & CA Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for RHPs Jake Arrieta & Pedro Strop.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 2, 2013
Tonight Today, Arrieta is scheduled to start against our beloved local nine and is looking to become the first pitcher since Johnny Vander Meer on June 11th and 15th, 1938 and only the second pitcher of all-time to throw back-to-back no hitters. The Brewers have collectively been one of the worst offensive units in the big leagues this year and own an 80 wRC+ (25th in MLB) while scoring a meager 3.95 runs per game (11th in NL).
History is not on Arrieta's side, however. Besides the fact that it's been 78 years since someone has thrown consecutive no-no's, the Brewers current roster actually has a decent history against the Cubbies' ace. According to DailyBaseballData.com, Milwaukee hitters own a cumulative .281/.304/.416 slash in 92 plate appearances against Arrieta. Most notably, third baseman Aaron Hill and left fielder Ryan Braun have gone a combined 11-27 with four extra base hits against him. That includes this booming home run by Braunie off Arrieta at Wrigley Field in May of last season.
Small sample sizes obviously apply in this situation and Arrieta has dominated Milwaukee to the tune of 15 consecutive scoreless innings in the last two starts that he's made against them. The Brewers will almost certainly be able to manage at least a hit or two off of Jake, but with Taylor Jungmann scheduled to start for Milwaukee and a Vegas line of -360 in favor of Chicago, it's exceedingly likely the Brewers will lose
tonight today to drop their record to 8-13. That is, of course, if they are even able to get the game in.
Awful 2nite at Wrigley for @Brewers Cubs. Cold w/temps mid 40s & windchills mid/upper 30s. Plus rain moving in arnd or little after gametime— Craig Koplien (@CraigKoplien) April 27, 2016
So, they postponed the game yesterday and Jungmann and the Brewers will now face Arrieta today at Wrigley at 12:40 PM CST. So all this is still applicable.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs