Home Run Derby? Arrieta says 'I'm in' if asked

Right-hander collects 2 hits, pitches 7 innings in Saturday's win

June 11th, 2016

ATLANTA -- Jake Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters and recently rode a winning streak of 20 consecutive decisions. What's next for the Cubs' ace? How about taking part in a Home Run Derby?
Arrieta was asked if he'd be interested after picking up his 10th win on Saturday in the Cubs' 8-2 victory over the Braves. The Giants' Madison Bumgarner already said he would participate in next month's contest in San Diego if asked.
"I honestly think that would be the most adrenaline I would ever have," Arrieta said. "Hitting in a Home Run Derby with no [batting] cage in front of 40,000 people -- I don't know how those guys do it. I think it would be mentally and physically draining but a really fun experience."

Better than throwing a no-no at Dodger Stadium in a nationally televised game, which he did last Aug. 30?
"I still think the adrenaline I would get in a Home Run Derby would be much, much greater," Arrieta said. "It's something you've never done before. I'm sure [Kris Bryant] and [Anthony] Rizzo were feeling the adrenaline rush last year. I'm in."
Arrieta does have one homer this year, but predicted he would hit five. On Saturday, he picked up two hits himself, while holding the Braves to four over seven innings.

Arrieta was coming off his first loss after 20 consecutive winning decisions, and in that defeat, the right-hander struck out 12 over five innings. What was the difference?
"There weren't as many [strikeouts] just because we got quick outs," catcher Miguel Montero said. "The last time, he worked deep in the count to pretty much everybody he faced. When you get a 3-2 count, there's a lot of chances you strike him out or walk him. Today, he was able to keep the pitch count low enough for him to go seven innings."
It also helped that the Cubs staged a mini home run derby of their own, knocking four as Montero belted a three-run blast, Bryant added a two-run shot and Rizzo and Jason Heyward each hit solo homers.

"To pitch with a lead, I always feel pretty confident," Arrieta said. "We continued to put runs on the board. At that point, it's my job to be aggressive and try to get back in the dugout as quick as possible.
"I wanted to come out today with a conscious effort to be aggressive early. I know teams are taking against me early in the count to see if they can get ahead and make me come into their zone. I was fastball-dominant for the most part of the game."
Arrieta did his best to not get caught up in the streak. His loss last Sunday to the D-backs was his first since last July 25. He finished tied with Rube Marquard (1911-12) and Roger Clemens (1998-99) at 20 consecutive winning decisions. The only longer streaks are held by Carl Hubbell (24 straight in 1936-37) and Roy Face (22 in 1958-59).
"It had to end at some point," Arrieta said of his streak. "The most important thing for me is trying to pile up as many wins [with the team] that we can, especially early in the season to try to separate yourself and acquire a little breathing room and not have to scramble at the finish in August and September. We've done a really good job of that, winning games we're supposed to win and fighting late and coming back in certain situations to win ballgames."