The most remarkable thing about Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter against the Dodgers August 30, 2015, viewed by the entire country via ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, is how absolutely expected it was.
Consider that the previous entry in this series is a game in which Jake took a no-hitter into the eighth inning — and that wasn’t even the farthest he’d taken a no-hitter that season. Arrieta lost the September 16, 2014 no-hitter with one out in the eighth. A couple months earlier at Fenway Park, he had a no-hitter with two out in the eighth broken up by a single by Stephen Drew, and that game isn’t in this list because he departed after that hit with a 2-0 lead and a standing ovation from Red Sox (and Cubs) fans, Game Score 86.
In his remarkable 2015 second-half run, he’d thrown a two-hit complete game vs. the White Sox, allowed the Braves three hits and no runs in seven innings with 10 strikeouts, and given the Pirates just two hits in a seven-inning outing at Wrigley to begin August.
No-hitters certainly aren’t easy, but Jake was making everything look easy in that second half. You knew, just knew, this was coming at some point. In the nine starts prior to his August 30 start at Dodger Stadium: 1.17 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, .162 opponents BA, 64 strikeouts and one (!) home run in 61⅓ innings.
The Cubs took an early 2-0 lead on a Kris Bryant home run in the first with Chris Denorfia on base. An error by Starlin Castro allowed Kiké Hernandez to reach in the third, but Jake then retired 10 straight Dodgers until Jimmy Rollins walked with two out in the sixth. Those were the only L.A. baserunners.
And so it went to the bottom of the ninth still 2-0. Jake struck out Justin Turner, his 10th K of the night, and then Rollins was caught looking.
Chase Utley was the next hitter. Jake got him down 1-2 and then finished off the no-hitter [VIDEO].
The no-hitter with a walk and 12 strikeouts generated a Game Score of 98, second-highest in Cubs history. It is one of just 31 no-hitters in MLB history with 12 or more strikeouts.
And in the seven starts from the no-hitter through the end of the season, an amazing run for Jake: 0.33 ERA, 0.491 WHIP, .120 opponents BA, five (!) walks, one (!) home run and 58 strikeouts in 55 innings, he allowed runs in just two of the seven outings. The second half overall: 15 starts, 0.75 ERA, 0.727 WHIP, just two home runs allowed in 107⅓ innings, one of the most remarkable runs in all of baseball history. Jake won the wild-card game for the Cubs and then, by his own admission, was pretty much spent for the rest of the 2015 postseason.
And though he’s a Phillie now, he’ll always be a Cubs World Series champion.
Lastly, that game was the final one of a six-game West Coast trip and the Cubs had lost the previous four, so the win was certainly welcome. Joe Maddon had introduced theme trips to the Cubs that year, and the newness hadn’t worn off yet, so this is how the Cubs dressed for their flight back to Chicago, the “onesie” trip: