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Jake extends Cubs rotation's post-break roll

Arrieta's 10th win lifts Chicago into NL Central's top spot
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is Monday, and the Cubs have been linked in nearly every rumor about a starting pitcher. After posting an 8-3 win on Wednesday night over the White Sox behind Jake Arrieta, do the Cubs need another starter?

"If there's a situation where we can get another guy and not lose any key players, it might work in our favor," Arrieta said. "I think we've got the pieces to get it done."

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CHICAGO -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is Monday, and the Cubs have been linked in nearly every rumor about a starting pitcher. After posting an 8-3 win on Wednesday night over the White Sox behind Jake Arrieta, do the Cubs need another starter?

"If there's a situation where we can get another guy and not lose any key players, it might work in our favor," Arrieta said. "I think we've got the pieces to get it done."

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The Cubs certainly look like they have enough firepower. With Wednesday's win, the Cubs are 10-2 since the All-Star break, a season-high six games over .500, and have a half-game lead in the National League Central over the Brewers, who lost to the Nationals. Chicago had trailed by 5 1/2 games at the All-Star break.

"When we traded for [Jose Quintana], that's a huge addition to our ballclub as we've seen in his past couple starts," Arrieta said of the lefty, who is 2-0 with the Cubs. "Just seeing how he carries himself in between starts is a really good sign.

"That trade right there is one that is going to pay huge dividends for this ballclub, and not only for this year but the next couple years," Arrieta said. "We're a great team right now."

Arrieta has looked more like the 2015 version when he won the NL Cy Young award. He is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his past five starts, and notched his 11th quality start of the season, giving up two runs and two hits over 6 2/3 innings against the White Sox.

"When the fastball is going where he wants it to, he'll be successful," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Off that will be the confidence, and off that, you'll see the cutter and curveball working better. He was very good tonight."

Video: CHC@CWS: Maddon on Arrieta's solid outing

White Sox manager Rick Renteria knows how good. Arrieta was in his rotation when Renteria managed the Cubs in 2014.

"His arm is pretty lively, and he did what he normally does," Renteria said. "He throws that breaking ball that -- if you're a left-handed hitter -- starts looking like it's going into the other box and winds up coming back. If you're a right-handed hitter, it looks like it's going to hit you and winds up on the other side of the plate. That's a pretty unique ability that he has, the life and the break that he has on his pitches."

Arrieta's outing continued another strong performance by the Cubs' rotation. The starters have compiled a 2.50 ERA in 12 games since the break.

Tweet from @Cubs: Three straight quality starts to open the 2nd half for @JArrieta34! pic.twitter.com/HmcIE0RfwQ

"Starting pitching, you feed off it," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.

And Arrieta feels his best pitching is still ahead of him.

"We're feeling it," Arrieta said about being in first place again. "We expect to remain in first place throughout the rest of the way. We know it will be a tough task, but that's what you deal with at the highest level of sports. You expect to have really good competition from teams that are either equal with you or close behind.

"We feel we've got the group that can separate ourselves at this point in time and remain in first place for the rest of the way," he said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta