Cubs vs. Cardinals. The rivalry is alive.
Jake Arrieta did his Jake Arrieta thing in Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park, striking out 11 batters over nine shutout innings as the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-0 to advance to the Division Series. Arrieta gave up only four hits — all singles — and did not issue a walk. It was a masterful outing from the 2015 National League Cy Young Award candidate.
Kyle Schwarber hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning and a two-run bomb into the Allegheny River in the top of the fourth. Dexter Fowler was also a big offensive contributor for the visiting Cubs, scoring on both of Schwarber’s big hits and adding a homer of his own in the top of the fifth.
Things got heated in the seventh when Pirates reliever Tony Watson plunked Arrieta with a pitch that appeared to be aimed at his left hip. The benches and bullpens cleared and Pirates utilityman Sean Rodriguez tried to throw a punch at Cubs backup catcher David Ross. That’s the frustration that comes with playing in three of these do-or-die games in three years.
A blacked-out PNC Park crowd was rocking early on and the Pirates did have a shot to break through in the bottom of the sixth, but the Cubs turned a slick doubleplay to get out of that threat.
So it’ll be Cubs vs. Cardinals on Friday night at Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The first time these two rivals have ever met in the playoffs. Oh boy.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.