The Chicago Cubs breezed through the regular season with a major-league leading 103 wins. Now, the real challenge begins. The Cubs’ journey to break a 107-year championship drought begins Friday, Oct. 7. Problem is, they have no idea who they are playing yet.
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That’s kind of a significant detail. Knowing your opponent is half the battle, and managers will often strategically build lineups and alter their rotation based on which team is coming to town for a short series. So, when the San Francisco Giants take on the New York Mets in the NL wild card game, most members of the Cubs will be interested in the outcome.
Not Cubs ace Jake Arrieta. He doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about which team the Cubs will take on in the NLDS.
Mets or Giants? Jake Arrieta: “Who gives a s—?”
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) October 2, 2016
Arrieta’s lack of giving a “hoot” can be interpreted a few ways. At first, you might think it sounds incredibly cocky, but that might not be the case. Worrying about the opponent is a job for manager Joe Maddon, not for Arrieta. He’s going to go out and pitch the best he can no matter which club he faces. If the matchup isn’t going to drastically alter his pitching style, why should he care?
You could also look at it as Arrieta having confidence in his current club. The Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season. Arrieta has every reason to believe that will continue in the postseason. As such, he probably believes the Cubs are going to win no matter which opponent they face. Maybe he’s saying he doesn’t care about the matchup because it’s not going to change his opinion. He has faith in his club.
But, for the fun of it, let’s just assume Arrieta is being totally cocky here. He doesn’t give a damn because he knows the Cubs are going to win and he’s going to dominate every start he makes regardless of the opponent.
With any other player, you might think that’s bold and presumptuous. Arrieta, however, does have a history of backing up his smack talk.
Remember when the Pittsburgh Pirates tried to throw Arrieta off his game during last season’s wild card contest?
— Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) October 4, 2015
Yeah, that didn’t work out too well for Pittsburgh.
The lesson here: Don’t make Jake Arrieta angry before a big game. We would tell the Giants and Mets to keep that in mind this week, but as Arrieta has proved before, it doesn’t matter.
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