The Dodgers and Jake Arrieta are certainly no strangers to each other. They are also not best friends. Ever since Arrieta broke out with the Chicago Cubs, he has been a thorn in the side to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers will once again renew their acquaintances on Tuesday night when Jake Arrieta opposes the Dodgers for the first time as a Philadelphia Phillie. The last time the Dodgers faced Arrieta was in the 2017 NLCS when Arrieta lead the Cubs to their first and only win of last years championship series. On that night Jake threw 6 2/3 innings of three-hit ball allowing one earned run. Arrieta wasn’t particularly sharp that night as he walked five Dodger batters but he struck out nine and the Dodgers were unable to make Arrieta pay for his mistakes.
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This season Arrieta is 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Although Jake Arrieta’s numbers on the surface appear to be strong there are a few underlying stats that show he’s not the same as the flamethrowing version of himself in Chicago. In Chicago, Arrieta averaged close to nine strikeouts per nine innings, but this season his strikeout rate is only six strikeouts per nine innings. Arrieta once was able to throw as hard as 94-96 miles per hour, but this season his fastball is averaging 92 miles per hour. Arrieta can still rack up strikeouts with his offspeed pitches, but he is not going to just blow fastballs past hitters like he once was able to.
The current Dodgers lineup has just four hits in fifty-one at-bats against Arrieta which is an ugly .078 batting average. The Dodgers best hitter against Arrieta was Corey Seager who was 3-5, but the Dodgers will not have the services of Seager tonight. Yasiel Puig is 2-5 against Arrieta which makes him the Dodgers’ best hitter against Arrieta and Chase Utley is the only current Dodger who has homered off Jake. Yasmani Grandal is the only Dodger hitter besides Utley and Puig who have regular season hits against Arrieta. The ugly numbers are to be expected since the Dodgers were no-hit by Arrieta in 2015 when he was in the midst of his dominant stretch.
While the strikeout numbers haven’t been there for Arrieta, he still has a 1.06 ERA in his last three starts despite only recording thirteen strikeouts. The Dodgers will counter by sending Kenta Maeda out to the mound who has been dominant his last two starts pitching past the sixth inning and allowing no runs in both starts. Unlike Arrieta, Maeda has seen a rise in his strikeout numbers this season as he is averaging 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings this year. If the Dodgers offense can deliver with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers might finally be able to solve Jake Arrieta tonight.