LOS ANGELES -- Of course, Jimmy Rollins remembers the last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium. It was Aug. 30, 2015, and Arrieta was so good for the Cubs that night, Rollins recalls having an oddly defeatist thought as he strode toward home plate in the ninth inning.Just don't
LOS ANGELES -- Of course, Jimmy Rollins remembers the last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium. It was Aug. 30, 2015, and Arrieta was so good for the Cubs that night, Rollins recalls having an oddly defeatist thought as he strode toward home plate in the ninth inning.
Just don't strike out.
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But Rollins did strike out, just like Justin Turner before him and Chase Utley to follow, sealing Arrieta's first career no-hitter. With Rollins watching from afar while he works the American League playoffs for TBS, Arrieta will return to the Dodger Stadium mound tonight for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
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Rollins no longer wears Dodgers blue, but plenty of others who played in Arrieta's no-hitter still do. Besides Turner and Utley, Adrián González, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson all remain Dodgers regulars.
"Not that he wasn't already a man," Rollins said of Arrieta, "but to be there and see it, it was like he became the man. He was already having a great season, and that was like the icing on the cake."
Rollins was one of the Dodgers' two baserunners in the game, working a two-out walk in the sixth inning. Kiké Hernandez also reached on a Starlin Castro error in the third.
"You could see from the very first pitch that he was a man about his business that night," Rollins said. "You always hear of pitchers, 'His pitches are filthy.' As hitters, you never give pitchers that much credit. So until he [finished] the no-hitter, in your mind you still have to think, 'He's not gonna get it done.'"
But the reality?
"You're overmatched that night," Rollins said. "He's throwing the ball 96 mph into the ninth inning, and his curveball is still breaking from 2 o'clock to 8 o'clock. That's why my last at-bat, it was like, 'Just don't strike out.'"
The no-hitter was the highlight of a regular season that earned Arrieta the NL Cy Young Award. He pitched seven more scoreless innings against the Dodgers in 2016, though L.A. won that game against the Cubs' bullpen.
"We know he's tough," Utley said. "He's got electric stuff. For every good pitcher, you try to capitalize on their mistakes. They all make mistakes, some more than others, and you have to try to be ready for those mistakes and try to take advantage of those."
Utley is 0-for-13 against Arrieta. Pederson is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts. Gonzalez is a respectable 6-for-21 with a double and a home run. Dodgers newcomer Josh Reddick is 4-for-9 with a homer.
"He's good," Turner said, "but [Jon] Lester is good, [Kyle] Hendricks is good. All those guys are good. Everyone you face in the postseason is good. … Just like we do every day, we'll put together a game plan and try to figure out a way to beat Jake."
How does one do that?
"Well, we haven't had that meeting yet," he said.
Adam McCalvy has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001.