When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, Jake Arrieta was a big part of that team's success. He was 18-8 during the regular season and 2-1 in the playoffs to help Chicago erase a 108-year championship drought.
Five years later, the Cubs are far from title contenders, but Arrieta is back with the team as a veteran trying to show young players the way. He is not quite up to his 2015 Cy Young form, but he still feels he has a lot to offer his teammates.
He'll get a chance to show them when he takes the mound Thursday in the finale of a three-game series at the Colorado Rockies. Arrieta (5-10, 6.20 ERA) will likely match up against Colorado's Antonio Senzatela (2-8, 4.58).
The teams have split the first two games of the series, with Chicago rallying to win Wednesday night, 3-2.
Senzatela has not officially been named the starter but is expected to take the ball after three weeks away from the team for COVID-19 protocols.
Arrieta is making his second start since returning from the 10-day injured list. He took the loss at Washington on Friday, allowing two runs in four innings.
Arrieta was plugged in against the Nationals after Chicago traded Trevor Williams, originally named the starter for the game, before the deadline.
It was somewhat fitting that Arrieta, who helped establish a winning culture when he joined Chicago in 2013, got the initial start as the Cubs began a reboot. Arrieta embraced the opportunity.
"It's time for the next wave of guys to establish (their own legacy), and I want to be a part of that as well," he said Friday. "I would like to see the guys that came in recently to hit the ground running because it's pretty obvious that they know how to win."
Arrieta is making his seventh career start against the Rockies and the first since 2018. In his previous outings against them he is 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA.
Senzatela has been away from the Rockies since before the All-Star break when he and several players -- as well as manager Bud Black -- were put on the COVID-19 list. He hasn't pitched since going six innings at Arizona on July 7.
He is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four career games -- three starts -- against Chicago.
Senzatela had a two-day bout with COVID-19 during his time on the injured list. His wife also contracted the virus as did their son. Senzatela and his wife had mild symptoms, and their son had no issues, he said.
"I went through two days of body aches -- that's all I had," Senzatela said. "I thank God for that. A lot of people have died of that, but I had just two days."
Senzatela went out on a rehab assignment on Saturday and threw 40 pitches followed by 20 more in a bullpen session after the game.
--Field Level Media