Jake Arrieta Discusses Drug Testing, Lower Velocity, and More on 670 The Score

If you’re finding yourself in need of some Cubs content on this off-day, perhaps I can interest you in a Jake Arrieta radio interview. Below are some Cliff’s notes of Arrieta’s appearance on Bernstein and Goff this afternoon, with the link to the full interview below.

  • Arrieta touches on the strange last week in Cubs’ baseball. He notes that it was a bit “hectic” at times, especially with the wacky Chicago weather, but that they were fortunate to take two of three from Milwaukee.
  • In response to the topic of Starling Marte being suspended for steroids, Arrieta explains some of the process involved in being tested. He talks about being tested at his home in Texas, at Spring Training, and during the season. He says he has been tested around “10-15 times” since the beginning of last season. He believes they do a good job of changing up the timing of the tests (before and after games) to make it harder for players to cheat the system. “It just shows with a guy like Marte getting popped, the system is working.”
  • Jake believes there are “things we (players) can do within the rules” to stay healthy and performing at a high level, so he doesn’t have an issue with certain things being banned/tested for. They discuss potentially looking into substances/treatments that would simply allow players to maintain who they are throughout the season, as opposed to substances that drastically increase performance/strength.
  • Goff brings up the low velocities from the Cubs’ starting staff. Arrieta first notes that velocity is not the be all, end all and “is not that important to us.” He says their job is to get outs regardless of whether they have their best stuff or not.
  • Bernstein asks whether the postgame celebrations have changed this year now that they have won the World Series. Arrieta details how winning the World Series has made him realize how much every game matters even more, and that each win can play a role in whether a team is in the playoffs or not.
  • Arrieta names Miguel Cabrera as someone he remembers hitting him the hardest in his career. He notes a specific at-bat in which Miggy took a low-and-away cutter for an opposite field home run in Detroit. Jake notes that having to hit for himself every five days has given him a great appreciation for hitters like Cabrera.
  • Bernstein asks how Jake deals with the abundance of information pitchers have on their matchups with a given hitter. Arrieta compares it to a chess match, trying to move the pieces a little different each time asking “how can I mix these pitches in a way he hasn’t seen before.” He also talks about how each start is different depending on the feel he has for each pitch that day. He gives a specific example that even on a day when he doesn’t have a good feel for his changeup, he might throw it a few times early on to plant a seed in the hitters mind.
  • Goff asks Arrieta about the cutter as a pitch. Jake talks about throwing it in on guys hands, and says he has started to utilize the front-hip cutter to righties on occasion. He says with his cutter he just trying to “miss a barrel and get weak contact.”
  • Arrieta says that the best athletes on the team are probably Javy Baez and Addison Russell. He thinks either Kyle Hendricks or Jon Lester are the best golfer on the team.

The full interview can be heard here.

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