Jake Arrieta picked up in the postseason where he left off in the regular season, which is to say he remained untouchable for opposing hitters. In pitching the Cubs to a 4-0 win in the NL Wild Card, the 29-year-old Texan became the first pitcher in postseason history to throw a shutout with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. He also extended his scoreless streak to 31 innings. He hasn't allowed a run since the eighth inning of a Sept. 16 game against the Pirates, and his ERA since the beginning of August is 0.37. (Ed. Note: That is not a typo!)
The Exclamation Point
The largest crowd in the history of PNC Park was deafeningly loud until Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber crushed a 2-1 breaking pitch that Pirates starter Gerrit Cole left over the plate into the Allegeheny River for a two-run homer that made the score 3-0. MLB's Statcast™ measured Schwarber's home run at 449.8 feet and 111.3 mph off the bat.
The Stat Line
Jake Arrieta: 9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 2 HBP
The Cubbies are Kids!
That a rookie, 23-year-old Kyle Schwarber, produced the big blast for Chicago comes as no surprise to anyone watching. FanGraphs says the Cubs' rookies posted an 11 WAR this season, four better than the rookie collective on any other club. The average age on the Cubs roster is 26.7 years old. Scwarber and fellow rookies Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler don't seem to be overly concerned about billy goats or Steve Bartman.
"I didn't want to see anybody in the bullpen. I wanted to finish what I started. In an environment like this, you want to have the ball in your hand when the last out is made."
-- Jake Arrieta
The NL Wild Card game drew a 21.8 household rating on TBS, making it the most-watched MLB game in Chicago since the White Sox closed out the Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series. The 5.5 national overnight rating made it TBS' highest-rated Wild Card game ever. In Pittsburgh, the game drew a 26.2 HH rating, up 16 percent over last year's Cardinals-Pirates Wild Card telecast.
Die-hard Cubs fan Eddie Vedder, the lead singer and guitarist for Pearl Jam, was on hand for the game and the celebration. In the year of Ernie Banks' death, the song he wrote for Banks in 2008, All the Way, is back on the minds of Cubs fans everywhere. Here are some of the lyrics (on National Poetry Day, no less):
Don't let anyone say that it's just a game
For I've seen other teams, and it's never the same
When you're born in Chicago, you're blessed and you're healed
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field
Our heroes with pinstripes and heroes in blue
Give us the chance to feel like heroes too
Whether we'll win and if we should lose
We know someday we'll go all the way
Yeah, someday we'll go all the way
Let's Play Two
Both American League Division Series get underway today. The Texas Rangers head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at 3:30 p.m. ET (FS1), and the Houston Astros rocket into Kansas City for a battle with the defending AL champion Royals at 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1).
Follow us @MLB_Players and to catch our postseason social media series, titled #WinOrGoHome #ItsBlackandWhite, featuring some up-close photos courtesy of Getty Sports.