Cubs starter Jake Arrieta no-hit the Dodgers on Sunday night, using 112 pitches to keep the opposition off the board in a 2-0 victory. He walked one and struck out 12, and with the strong start, he increased his major league win total to 17.
If things were tense in the ninth inning, Arrieta didn’t show it. He fanned the final three batters he faced, Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley.
Arrieta’s gem is the sixth no-hitter this season. It’s the Cubs’ first no-hitter since Carlos Zambrano accomplished the feat on September 14, 2008. The Dodgers have been no-hit twice in the span of 9 days, as Mike Fiers kept them silent on August 21.
Arrieta, with an outside shot at the NL Cy Young Award, has a 2.11 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and a 190/44 K/BB ratio in 183 innings.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been something of a lightning rod in recent years, getting most of the blame for the team’s fall from grace after the 2011 season. There were a number of poor decisions made under his leadership, including the Ryan Howard extension, the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle, separate trades to acquire Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence which depleted the minor league system, as well as some regrettable public comments with which he insulted Ryan Howard, showed he didn’t understand how OPS worked, and denigrated the value of walks.
The Phillies hit rock bottom earlier this year, when manager Ryne Sandberg quit suddenly due to an inability to effectively communicate with his players. Amaro named Pete Mackanin the interim manager, and the team has played much better and players have effusively praised Mackanin. Amaro also oversaw the overhauling of the Phillies’ minor league system, trading Jimmy Rollins during the off-season and executing trades of Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley. The Phillies now arguably have one of the five-best minor league systems in baseball.
And that may be reason enough for the Phillies to bring Amaro back for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Amaro’s contract expires after the season, but incoming team president Andy MacPhail — taking over for outgoing president Pat Gillick — may keep Amaro in the GM seat rather than find a new candidate from outside the organization.
Heyman does cite as potential external GM options J.J. Piccolo of the Royals, Matt Klentak of the Angels, and John Barr of the Giants.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly provided a dose of positive news on Tuesday afternoon in Cincinnati, informing Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that second baseman Howie Kendrick could be cleared for minor league rehab games by the end of this week.
Kendrick has been on the disabled list since August 10 with a strained left hamstring. If everything goes according to plan, he should be able to return to the Dodgers’ active roster the first week of September.
Los Angeles landed Chase Utley from the Phillies a week or so after Kendrick went down with the hamstring strain, but Utley is 2-for-14 (.125) so far and batting just .212/.276/.330 in 297 total plate appearances this year at age 36.
Kendrick, 32, was slashing .296/.341/.418 through 105 games this season for the Dodgers, who have dropped their last five and are only 1 1/2 games up on the Giants in the National League West.
On-base percentage is super important. It may be the most important single stat for batters. But there are limits to what a good OBP can do for you.
Take Dodgers rookie center fielder Joc Pederson. His OBP is a healthy .357 and in the month of August it’s a fantastic .413. But that’s almost all on walks. He’s walked 20 times in the month of August and has only two hits and 17 strikeouts in 41 at bats. His line for the month: .122/.413/.293. That’s profoundly weird — he’s walking more now and striking out less than he had been –but it’s not terribly useful, especially given the power expectations he set earlier in the season. He has only three home runs since the All-Star break. An All-Star break during which he appeared in the Home Run Derby.
Yesterday Don Mattingly benched Pederson, saying that Kiké Hernandez gives the team a better chance to win. Hernandez, for his part, is raking at the moment, hitting .327/.389/.551 this month, primarily filling in for Howie Kendrick at second base. With Chase Utley coming over to Los Angeles and with Kendrick due back eventually, Mattingly no doubt doesn’t want to lose Hernandez’s bat.
Just a weird year for Pederson. Say what you want about the tenets of becoming the second coming of a post-decline Adam Dunn, but at least it’s an ethos. Just not one helping a team with pretensions of hanging on to its lead in the NL West.