Arrieta puts trust in Montero, delivers stellar start
Righty strikes out a season-high 10, allows just three hits in win over Mets
CHICAGO -- All catcher Miguel Montero asked of Jake Arrieta on Tuesday was to trust him and not think too much, and it worked.
Arrieta struck out a season-high 10 batters and held the Mets to three hits over eight innings in the Cubs' 6-1 victory at Wrigley Field. It was Arrieta's fifth career double-digit strikeout game and fifth quality start of the season.
"He came to pitch today," said Montero, who had a little chat with the right-hander before the game. "Sometimes I ask him to trust me. I know he has a pretty good idea and he's prepared, but at the same time, [I told him], 'Let me help you out.'
"The last thing I want him to do is be thinking and thinking and then you have to make the pitch. I told him, 'Let me do the thinking, and you just worry about making the pitches.'"
It worked. Arrieta faced the minimum over the first seven innings. It wasn't a perfect game as Arrieta walked Curtis Granderson to start the night, but a double play helped. Granderson walked again to start the fourth but was out at third trying to advance on Daniel Murphy's single. Then Arrieta got Michael Cuddyer to hit into a double play and end that inning.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was impressed at how Arrieta was able to compose himself whenever he seemed to lose his command and liked the rapport between pitcher and catcher.
"I reminded him that he actually needed to pitch," Montero said of his message to the right-hander. "[I said], 'You're not going to get away with 95 [mph] down the middle.'"
Montero and Jason Hammel, who will start Wednesday, also have worked well together. It's Montero's goal to make it easier on the pitcher.
"You can keep your tempo going, keep the rhythm going and the pace of the game is faster and the hitters don't have time to think about things," Montero said of his approach. "You keep attacking. [The pitchers] need to keep that in mind, and I'm going to keep reminding them."
• Maddon said he's pleased with Addison Russell's transition from shortstop to second base, citing how difficult it is to not only change positions, but change to the other side of the field. It's still a work in progress between Russell and shortstop Starlin Castro as they continue to learn each other.
"I think as they play together more often, Starlin will know to get out of the way and Addy will know to bust across and see that he can get it done on his own," Maddon said.
• Maddon doesn't want his starting pitchers adding up their pitches during each start.
"It's not a 100-pitch exercise," Maddon said. "Sometimes a guy might throw 85 [pitches], and that might be the Waterloo for that particular day. Some guys might be 110, 115 and they're fine. You have to watch what's going on -- is he laboring? Is he coming out of his delivery? Is he getting stronger as the game progresses?"
• Tsuyoshi Wada, on the disabled list with a mild groin strain, will start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. In five starts so far, the left-hander has given up 10 earned runs on 28 hits and 10 walks over 27 2/3 innings.