With heavy rain in Chicago on Tuesday, it’s possible that Game 4 of the NLDS between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals will not be played. But even if the game is delayed until Wednesday, Joe Maddon will stick to his original plan and have Jake Arrieta start for the Cubs.
Joe Maddon says he will stick with Jake Arrieta in Game 4 if the game gets rained out today.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 10, 2017
Washington manager Dusty Baker is not sure he’ll move Game 1 starter Stephen Strasburg up in the event of a rain delay.
Less than three hours before first pitch, the weather reports in and around Chicago certainly didn’t indicate that a baseball game would be played.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) October 10, 2017
With the delay, Chicago would have had an option of going with Game 1 starter Kyle Hendricks in Game 4, and Game 2 starter Jon Lester in Game 5 (if necessary), with both on normal rest.
This is quite a luxury for the Cubs to have. Still, it’s hard to question Maddon’s logic.
First and foremost, Chicago is up in the series. So, the need to bump the rotation up is not as pressing. Secondly, Arrieta isn’t exactly a typical No. 4 pitcher.
In 2015, he won the National League Cy Young Award. His 2017 season wasn’t quite that good. But at 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, the 2017 numbers were far from shabby. He was even better after the All-Star Break, going 6-3 with a 2.28 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Lastly, Wrigley Field has been an especially kind venue to Arrieta in his career. He has a career 30-14 record with a 2.31 ERA and 0.96 WHIP at his home stadium. In 2017, he has a 5-2 mark with a 2.90 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.