As pitcher Jake Arrieta walked off the mound at Wrigley Field – quite possibly for the last time in a Cubs uniform — Arrieta tipped his cap to the roaring fans.
“Hopefully, it’s not a goodbye; it’s a thank you, obviously,” Arrieta said after a sterling effort during the Cubs’ 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night.
“I still intend to have another start in this ballpark. If that’s where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there.”
After the season, Arrieta will be a free agent and economics could determine whether the vet right-hander will be pitching for another team in 2018. With his team facing elimination, Arrieta went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits with five walks and nine strikeouts. The only set back was a third-inning solo home run by Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.
“It’s a win-or-go-home (so) I had that mindset of I’m going to do everything in my power to get it to (Thursday night), Arrieta said. “We were able to scratch enough offense to get it to that point. “(We’ll) come out (in Game 5) and do the best we can and try to win three in a row.”
Arrieta improved to 3-0 in his career in elimination games – all with the Cubs – with a 1.25 earned-run average as well as 29 strikeouts.
“It’s not an ideal situation but I’ve been in this situation several times before and I enjoy it,” Arrieta said. “If it had to come down to somebody pitching us in to another game I like my chances of taking that ball and giving us a chance to win. I was able to do that.”
While walking off the mound after Joe Maddon pulled him in favor of Brian Duensing – Arrieta admitted that in the back of his mind lurked the knowledge that hey may have thrown his last pitch for the Cubs.
“There’s a little thought of that, yeah, because you never know,” Arrieta said. “But at the same time, now that the game is over it’s out of sight and out of mind. The thought process for me now is to be ready if I’m needed.”