Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was ill during the team's 9–5 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
“From the first pitch, I was pretty much running on empty today,” Arrieta told reporters after the game. “I give [Justin] Grimm a hard time for getting the bug and I seem to have gotten it yesterday. I knew today I had to conserve my energy as best as I could.”
Arrieta pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits as he struck out three and walked two batters to improve to 17–6 on the season. He now holds a 2.91 ERA with 171 strikeouts this season.
The Cubs look to clinch a playoff berth this week as they lead the National League Central division by 16 games with their 91–51 record. Last season the Cubs used Arrieta in the one-game wild card match against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but with the division title nearly locked up, there will be more time to rest starting pitchers and focus on the National League Divisional Series.
Manager Joe Maddon has also inserted Mike Montgomery into the rotation for the final month of the season to allow more rest for the regular Cubs' starters with a six-man rotation.
The Cubs continue their road trip on Monday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs' magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now five.