BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox entered Monday night feeling pretty good about themselves after winning back-to-back games in Yankee Stadium over the weekend. They looked to keep that positive momentum going, but instead they ran into Jake Arrieta.
The Cubs’ 28-year-old right-hander was brilliant on the mound on Monday, taking a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings. The bid for the no-hitter was broken up by a clean single from Stephen Drew with two outs in the eighth, which led to Arrieta’s removal from the game.
As Arrieta walked toward the Cubs’ dugout, he received the rarest of the rare — a standing ovation from the Fenway crowd. It was a cheer typically reserved for the home team, but Arrieta was just that good on this night.
“We just ran into a guy that was on his game. He was really good. That’s all,” said Dustin Pedroia, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts after going 6-for-7 in his previous two games. “Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat, come out tomorrow and play well.”
It was hardly an outlier for Arrieta, who’s now 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 1.005 WHIP. He nearly had no-hit stuff in his last time out against the Reds, and he was even better against the Red Sox.
“Their guy was really good tonight. Their guy was really, really good. That’s one of the better pitchers that I’ve faced this year,” David Ross said. “He’s deceptive. He’s throwing from the third base side of the rubber and kind of across his body, so for righties, his cutter moves at like 90, 91 with some serious depth. And then he was locating his fastball, and then he had a breaking ball to go with it. He’s a really good pitcher, it’s the reason why he’s got a low ERA. I think he’s figured some things out. I’ve faced him before, and he’s definitely improved.”
Arrieta’s dominance was particularly evident in his matchups with Pedroia, who ranks in the top 25 of MLB hitters with 4.11 pitches per plate appearance. Against Arrieta, Pedroia saw three pitches in his first plate appearance and two in his second. He battled for six pitches in his third at-bat, but ultimately struck out.
“Everything. He located everything. He’s got great stuff,” Pedroia said. “His cutter was down in the zone. His four-seam, he elevated it. His curveball — he kept every pitch out of the zone. In three at-bats, I don’t think I got one good pitch to hit. So you just gotta tip your hat.”
Brock Holt, who was held to an 0-for-4 night in the leadoff spot, was equally impressed.
“Everything. He was throwing everything for strikes, he wasn’t missing anything, he kept his curveball down, he was moving his cutter in and out, he was throwing a good fastball. He was throwing the ball well,” Holt said. “He had everything going for him. We couldn’t square him up.”
Even though they realized they were up against a pitcher who’s operating at his absolute best, there was a sense of frustration that the positive feelings built over the weekend were washed away quickly.
“Acknowledging Arrieta tonight, but every time we seem to put together a couple of quality performances back to back, it’s been difficult to extend,” manager John Farrell said. “You can’t pinpoint any one reason. Still, it is a little frustrating, particularly with where we are with our record and our status or our place in the division. We’re trying to get some momentum going, but you credit a solid performance tonight.”
The good news for Boston? It’ll be Edwin Jackson and his 5.22 ERA taking that same mound on Tuesday night.
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