Jake Arrieta didn't have one no-hitter in his first 123 career starts. Now he has two in his last 11.
The Chicago Cubs ace struck out six and spread out four walks over nine innings of work in Thursday's 16-0 blowout over the Cincinnati Reds. Arrieta's is the first no-hitter of the 2016 MLB season.
He joins Larry Corcoran and Ken Holtzman as the only Cubs in franchise history with multiple no-nos, per ESPN Stats & Info.
"It feels different the second time," Arrieta said, per ESPN.com. "I was a little more relaxed as the game progressed."
Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area captured a shot of a fan who was a little too excited:
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has 15 wins in his last 16 regular-season starts. He's given up zero or one earned run in 14 of those starts and shut out the opposition in 12 outings. The run ranks among the best in MLB history, a stretch of dominance more reminiscent of the dead-ball era than modern baseball.
Arrieta is off to a 4-0 start in 2016. He's given up just three runs in 31 innings—all in the same start. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN twisted the knife a bit for Baltimore Orioles fans:
While it will go down in the books as a no-hitter, Arrieta was far from perfect Thursday. He racked up 119 pitches over his nine innings of work—19 more than any of his other starts this season—and had some issues with control. When he was finding the strike zone, the Reds couldn't hit him, but their patience nearly paid off in a couple of spots.
Fortunately for Arrieta, his offense gave him more than enough breathing room. Kris Bryant hit two home runs as part of a 4-for-6 night, driving in six runs as the Cubs pounded the Cincinnati staff. Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo also went deep, each knocking in three runs.
Every Cub other than Addison Russell had at least one hit, including Arrieta, who helped his own cause with a 2-for-4 outing.
Still, this is more about Arrieta's sustained dominance than anything. He's become almost a cheat code at this point. There's no better pitcher in baseball—perhaps no better player, period—than Arrieta at the moment.
The Cubs came into 2016 with World Series aspirations. If Arrieta keeps throwing like this, it might take a herd of goats to keep the Cubs from winning it all.
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