Jake Arrieta's first 3 1/2 years in the majors included Tommy John surgery and plenty of disappointment before the Chicago Cubs presented him with an opportunity to turn around his career.
Now he's helping the North Siders make a push for the playoffs while posting one of the best seasons by a pitcher in the franchise's history.
The Brewers have given Arrieta some trouble this season, though, and he'll face them again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field as the Cubs seek a ninth straight victory over Milwaukee.
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Arrieta (19-6, 1.96 ERA) came up with Baltimore in 2010 before undergoing right elbow surgery in August of the following year. He was the Opening Day starter for the Orioles in 2012, but by the time he was traded to the Cubs on July 2, 2013, he had posted a 5.46 ERA in 63 starts and six relief efforts.
Just over two years since the trade, Arrieta has developed into one of baseball's best pitchers and a legitimate candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, which no Cub has won since Greg Maddux in 1992.
The Cubs (88-62), who have a firm hold on the second wild card and trail Pittsburgh by two games for the top spot, have won Arrieta's last 10 starts, including his no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30.
He missed becoming the Cubs' first 20-game winner since Jon Lieber in 2001 after allowing two runs - one earned - in eight innings of a 3-2, 12-inning victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday. However, It marked the right-hander's 17th straight quality start, making him the first Cub to do that since Lon Warneke in 1933.
Arrieta is 13-1 with a 1.01 ERA in that stretch.
"Look at his numbers," manager Joe Maddon said. "I guess it's Bob Gibson-esque from what I'm hearing, and that's strong company."
Arrieta is bidding to become the first Cub with an ERA under 2.00 since Pete Alexander in 1920, but he hasn't been at his best against the Brewers (63-87).
Milwaukee scored two of the six earned runs Arrieta has allowed over his last 10 outings July 30, and they also touched him up for a season high-tying four earned to beat him 6-1 at Wrigley on May 2.
Ryan Braun homered off Arrieta in that first contest, but there's a chance Braun won't play again this season after confirming Monday he'll need to have minor back surgery at season's end.
The Brewers have lost eight straight to the Cubs after Monday's 9-5 defeat. They're in full rebuilding mode and introduced 30-year-old David Stearns as the new general manager prior to the game.
"I think it's a big deal for the organization," manager Craig Counsell, who took over in May and will be retained, told MLB's official website. "There's been quite a bit of change this year. I think it's a big piece that's in place."
Milwaukee will send Tyler Cravy (0-7, 6.42) to the mound for his first start since Aug. 18 after making five appearances out of the bullpen. The right-hander started against the Cubs on Aug. 13 and allowed four runs - including a two-run homer to Dexter Fowler and a solo shot to Kyle Schwarber - in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-2 defeat at Wrigley.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant had three hits apiece Monday for the Cubs, who have won six of seven. Rizzo is batting .500 during a seven-game hitting streak and Bryant has a .478 average over his last six.