Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta has played a major role in his team’s success this season. But his individual accolades might be even more impressive — finishing the season with the second-lowest ERA in the majors at 1.77, seventh in strikeouts with 236 and the most wins in all of baseball with 22. On top of all that, Arrieta threw the first Cubs no-hitter since 2008 against the NL West division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and recorded a 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break — the lowest second-half ERA in MLB history.
Before Arrieta became one of the front-runners for the National League Cy Young award, he spent his offseason in Austin training for the 2015 season.
Arrieta’s workouts in Austin weren’t typical of a major league pitcher. His workout routine usually consisted of popular Austin activities such as hiking and biking. What made Arrieta’s workouts even tougher: He toted his two young children around in a baby carrier on his chest.
“That’s one of the main reasons we live in Austin,” Arrieta told MLB.com. “The weather is so nice for the majority of the offseason, and it’s easy for us to get out and ride bikes and get on some trails, to walk together as a family. Sometimes I’ll go out for a trail run. We just like to do things outdoors.”
Arrieta capitalized on the offseason in Austin by training himself both physically and mentally.
“I’ve learned to be my own coach and trust my gut, instead of trusting everybody I come in contact with,” Arrieta told ESPN. “I knew for a long time I could pitch my way and have success, but it was hard to do that. You want to be coachable and try to listen and learn from people, but everybody normally doesn’t have all the information. Sometimes you have to be your own coach and try to figure it out on your own.”
Arrieta’s workout regimen during the offseason brought his productivity on the field to the next level. Not only has Arrieta ushered the Cubs back into the postseason, but he has also led Chicago to its first postseason win since 2003 after throwing a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game Wednesday.
While taking over as the ace in Chicago, Arrieta maintained his quirky free-spirit attitude typical of the Austin scene, with witty tweets and off-field behaviors. He became the first player in major league history to throw a no-hitter and conduct his post-game press conference in a mustache-patterned onesie.
The National League Cy Young candidate will start Monday for the Cubs at home against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLDS with hopes of extending Chicago’s magical season. The game is in Chicago and airs at 5:07 p.m. on TBS.
There, Arrieta will aim to give Austin another reason to be proud.