DYK: Arrieta's season one for the ages
It's no secret that Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta is in the midst of one of the most dominant pitching stretches of all-time as he prepares to take the mound against the Pirates on Wednesday.
Before Arrieta takes the mound for his first career postseason start in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at 7 p.m. CT on TBS, however, let's take one more look at some of his historic regular-season numbers. The following is a list of 10 of the most impressive facts and figures surrounding Arrieta's record-setting campaign.
• No starting pitcher has been more dominant following the All-Star break than Arrieta was in 2015. His 0.75 second-half ERA was the lowest among starters following the break in Major League history. The only other pitcher to be used exclusively as a starter and finish with a sub-1.00 second-half ERA is Roger Clemens, who racked up a 0.97 ERA over 12 second-half outings in 1990.
• Arrieta capped off his historic stretch by logging his 20th consecutive quality start to finish the regular season, the longest such streak ever to end a season. It's the longest streak overall since Chris Carpenter turned in 22 consecutive quality starts from May 12-Sept. 8, 2005. Furthermore, since 1914, the only pitchers with longer such streaks -- uninterrupted by relief appearances -- are Bob Gibson (26), Carpenter (22), Johan Santana (21), Greg Maddux (21) and Dwight Gooden (21).
• As for the season as a whole, Arrieta's 1.77 ERA was the lowest by a Cubs pitcher who qualified for the ERA title since 1919, when Hall of Fame right-hander Grover Alexander racked up a 1.72 ERA over 235 innings.
• Prior to Arrieta, the last pitcher to win at least 22 games with a 1.77 ERA or better, all while allowing no more than 10 home runs, was Carl Hubbell in 1933. The Hall of Fame southpaw went 23-12 with a 1.66 ERA and allowed only six home runs over 308 2/3 innings en route to being named the league MVP in that 1933 campaign.
• Along with limiting opponents to 0.4 homers per nine innings, Arrieta also finished the year allowing just 5.9 hits per nine. Those numbers made Arrieta the first starter since Nolan Ryan in 1981 to hold opponents below both 0.5 homers and 6.0 hits per nine innings, while qualifying for the ERA title. Arrieta and Ryan, who did so four times (1972, '74, '77 and '81, which was a strike-shortened season), are the only qualified starters to accomplish the feat over the last 47 seasons.
• Not only did Arrieta hold the opposition to a .185 batting average, but he also issued only 48 walks over his 229 innings pitched. Only one other pitcher in Major League history (Pedro Martinez, 2000) has limited opponents to no better than a .185 batting average and issued fewer than 50 walks, while pitching at least 200 innings.
• Arrieta is only the second pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1920) to log sub-50 totals in both walks and earned runs allowed, while pitching at least 225 innings. The only other pitcher to accomplish that feat since 1920 is Kevin Brown, who allowed 49 earned runs and 33 walks over 233 innings for the Marlins in 1996.
• Arrieta had 17 different starts this year in which he pitched at least seven innings and struck out five or more batters, while allowing no more than one earned run. That's the most such outings in a single season since Randy Johnson did it in 18 of his 35 starts in 2002.
• Arrieta and Dodgers starter Zack Greinke each finished the year with an ERA+ of at least 219, a mark previously reached by only 10 other pitchers since 1914. At just 29 years old, however, Arrieta is the first pitcher to log an ERA+ of at least 219 before turning 30 years old since Martinez did so in 2000 at the age of 28.
• Speaking of Arrieta and Greinke, those two combined to become only the third pair of starters in the live-ball era (since 1920) to each post an ERA of 1.80 or better, while pitching at least 150 innings. It's the first time multiple pitchers have reached those plateaus in the same season since Gibson (1.12) and Luis Tiant (1.60) did it in 1968, four years after Dean Chance (1.65) and Sandy Koufax (1.74) accomplished the feat in 1964.