Before the Chicago Cubs signed Yu Darvish to a six-year/$126 million deal in February of 2018, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein reportedly placed a call to Jake Arrieta, who was a free-agent at the time, inquiring on whether he would have interest in a similar deal if the framework of a deal with Darvish fell through. The deal didn’t fall through – Darvish signed with the Cubs, and a month later, Arrieta, at a significantly lower price, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
So it’s only fitting that in Arrieta’s first game back in Chicago Monday, he’ll face off with Darvish. Arrieta, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award with the Cubs and helped them to end a 108-year World Series drought a season later, figures to be greeted with a king’s welcome before throwing his first pitch this evening.
It is worth noting that the Arrieta-Darvish matchup may sound better on paper than it actually proves to be. Arrieta has a 5.79 ERA in his last five starts, and his first season in Philadelphia was largely disappointing (though he did pitch through a torn meniscus for a portion of the season). Darvish, meanwhile, made just eight starts for the Cubs in 2018, and has a 5.14 ERA and 5.52 FIP in his first nine starts of 2019.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Phillies-Cubs tilt Monday night.
- Andrew McCutchen, left field
- Jean Segura, shortstop
- Bryce Harper, right field
- Rhys Hoskins, first base
- J.T. Relamuto, catcher
- Cesar Hernandez, second base
- Odubel Herrera, center field
- Maikel Franco, third base
- Jake Arrieta, pitcher
- Kyle Schwarber, left field
- Kris Bryant, third base
- Anthony Rizzo, first base
- Victor Caratini, catcher
- Jason Heyward, right field
- Albert Almora Jr., center field
- Daniel Descalso, second base
- Addison Russell, shortstop
- Yu Darvish, pitcher
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02 ERA, 4.68 FIP) vs. Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.14 ERA and 5.53 FIP)
- Darvish has only made two career starts against the Phillies, but he’s 1-0 with an 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings in that span.
- Arrieta has a 5.79 ERA in his last five starts. The 33-year-old righty had a 2.25 ERA in his previous four starts.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- In 98 career at-bats against the Phillies, Kris Bryant has slashed .378/.426/.643 with six home runs and 16 RBIs.
- Andrew McCutchen, who spent the first nine years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, has a .310 batting average, 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and 49 walks in 341 career plate appearances at Wrigley Field.
- Between 2013 and 2015 – which he split with the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals – Jason Heyward was worth 13.4 fWAR. Since signing an eight-year/$184 million deal with the Cubs ahead of the 2016 season, Heyward, who is still only 29, has been worth just 4.0 fWAR.
- Bryce Harper has three home runs in 54 career at-bats at Wrigley Field.
- Javier Baez has a .346 batting average in 78 career at-bats against the Phillies.
- Wrigley Field
- 8:05 p.m. ET
- NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network (out of market)
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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