Various

1)How utterly insane is Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta’s current run?

Jayson Stark tries to put it in perspective:

“To say it’s historic doesn’t even capture it. It’s practically unprecedented:

  • In this game, he became the first pitcher ever — right, ever — to throw a postseason shutout with double-digit strikeouts and zero walks. Look it up.
  • He also became just the fourth pitcher ever to strike out 10 or more and throw a shutout in a winner-take-all postseason game. Perhaps you’ve heard of the other three to do it: Sandy Koufax in the 1965 World Series, Justin Verlander in the 2012 ALDS and Madison Bumgarner in last year’s wild-card game in this very same park.
  • Over his final nine starts of the regular season, Arrieta went 8-0, with a 0.27 ERA and a .132 opponent batting average. And the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that since baseball began keeping track of earned runs over a century ago, no pitcher has ever had an ERA or opponent average that low of a batting average over a span of that many starts. And after this game, those numbers sit at 0.24 and .132. Unreal.
  • Since Aug. 1, 269 pitchers have allowed at least four earned runs in an inning. Meanwhile, Arrieta has also allowed four earned runs — in two months. Over 13 starts. His 0.37 ERA over that span is the lowest in history by any pitcher, over that many starts, since the invention of earned runs.
  • And if the Cubs are starting to get the impression he’s the closest thing there is to unbeatable, this might be why: Over Arrieta’s past 14 starts, they’re 14-0. Over his past 19 starts, they’re 18-1. Is that even possible?”

Arrieta also has the lowest post-all star break ERA – 0.77 – ever. To repeat – “ever.”

Absolutely nuts.

I still haven’t heard a great explanation for how Arrieta, who is 29 years old and entered the 2015 season with a career won-loss record of 34-32 and an ERA only a bit south of 4, could be doing this.

Mike Greenberg asserted this morning, appropriately, that Theo Epstein – the mastermind behind the Cubs’ rebuilding into a young juggernaut – is going into the Hall of Fame some day. He’s responsible for the end of the curse of the Bambino and has now done, in many ways, a more impressive job in Chicago.

2) Myles Jack is the standout UCLA linebacker who has decided, following a season-ending injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago, to leave the Bruins’ football program and prepare for the NFL draft. Jack is a junior, so even though he will end up sitting out most of his junior year, he’ll be able eligible for the draft next spring. Naturally, this eminently reasonable decision has led to much gnashing of teeth. Jim Mora, Jr., Jack’s UCLA coach, worried publicly this week that there might not be enough game tape on Jack for NFL teams to make an informed decision about him. No doubt, Mora was only thinking about the well-being of the player.

This morning, Jack was on Mike and Mike to explain his decision. Golic couldn’t quite grasp why Jack would leave UCLA now. After all, Golic pointed out, the rehab facilities are great and, were he still part of the program, he could avail himself of those, then play another year of college ball.

At no time did anyone say a single solitary word about the academic implications of Jack’s choice, except for Jack, who noted that, with UCLA on the quarter system, the timing of his injury meant that he was already behind the eight-ball with the start of the new academic term.

It never ceases to amaze me that, when not primed to think about defending the collegiate model, such considerations don’t even come up (in fairness, Greenie is not a defender of that model. But Golic very much is). Just like a few months ago, when Mike and Mike discussed the potential implications of moving the NCAA tournament back a month. During that conversation, at no time did they even broach the fact that doing so would be in conflict with final exam week at many schools.

What a charade.

3) Jessica Mendoza made history Tuesday night when she became the first woman to be part of a national baseball playoff broadcast. Mendoza, a former softball star, is an excellent analyst. She provides real insight, not platitudes and is already one of the best color commentators out there. So, naturally, she was the target of a torrent of moronic sexism during and after the broadcast.

It’s 2015, guys. For the love of God, grow up.

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