Less than a week removed from the second no-hitter of his MLB career, Chicago Cubs ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is a popular topic of conversation in the baseball world. Some are questioning Arrieta’s success with the Cubs since his trade from the Orioles in 2013, and performance enhancing drugs are linked to Arrieta for no particular reason. While some would be offended at the accusations if baseless, Arrieta is going the other direction – he’s actually flattered.
“It’s somewhat flattering, especially when some of those comments are coming from some of the best players in the game,” Arrieta said Tuesday.
“I think it’s funny,” he said. “I’ve always been in good shape. I just sucked early in my career from a statistical perspective. My body has always been very similar to how it is now. The results are different, so people want to question things. That’s the nature of sports.”
If one were to solely look at Arrieta’s performance and statistics, maybe the PED argument would hold some water. In 358 innings with the Orioles, he has a 5.46 ERA. In 468 1/3 innings with the Cubs, Arrieta’s ERA is more than three runs lower at 2.17. His strikeout rate also rose, while his walk rate dropped. STEROIDS!
Of course, there hasn’t been much of a change in Arrieta’s fastball velocity, and his breakout with the Cubs has coincided with him throwing his cutter more, which he didn’t really do as an Oriole. Hmmmmm…I wonder if that’s why he’s pitching so much better now.
Arrieta also spoke out against PEDs when asked about them, also speaking out for stronger penalties.
“That’s something I’ve had a firm stance on for a long time,” Arrieta said. “I remember being in Baltimore and talking to the older guys about how we can rid the game of people trying to cheat. A lot of steps have been taken in the right direction.”
“If it’s a blatant attempt to cheat the system with a steroid, then maybe so,” he said. “It’s apparent guys are still trying to take things, and guys will continue to do so unless the penalties are stiffer. I personally don’t think guys should get multiple chances when guys fail a steroid test.
“If I’m doing it the right way, I expect everyone to.”
Arrieta will start for the Cubs on Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Milwaukee’s offense is in the bottom half of the National League, but still better than the Reds offense than Arrieta no-hit last Thursday.
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