Similar to John Lackey and Jon Lester in Game 1 of the NLDS, there will be another pair of good friends competing in Game 3 as Matt Carpenter and Jake Arrieta find themselves on different sides of the St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago Cubs rivalry.
“Well, it’s going to be fun,” said Carpenter recently. “We obviously have a good relationship and he’s having a phenomenal year and pitching great for them, but we’re going to have to toe it up against each other. It should be a lot of fun.”
The two are former teammates from their days at Texas Christian University.
“Became close, you know, pretty quickly,” recalled Arrieta of their time at TCU. “He’s a tremendous competitor. We’ve battled it out on and off the field for a long time now. You know, it’s exciting to see where he’s taken his career. After what he went through at TCU, he battled through a lot, some injuries, dedicated himself to getting healthy and pursuing his career at the next level. He’s been able to do that, very consistent player. He’s a spark plug for that offense.”
The friendship has remained strong even after their college days–Arrieta served as a groomsman in Carpenter’s wedding.
“Just a really good friend, really good friend,” continued Arrieta. “It’s tough to root for him now, obviously. We’ve talked about it a little bit, and I told him we can be friends again after this one (laughter), but yeah, just really close relationship that we’ve had for a number of years. I think it kind of fuels the competitive nature of both of us, playing against each other in an environment like this.
You know, we’ll play these games and be friends a few days from now.”
Arrieta is a strong contender for the NL Cy Young Award after posting a historic 0.75 ERA in the second half of the season and was dominant against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game. So though they’re friends and former teammates, Carpenter doesn’t have any inside information or secrets to use at the plate.
“From him?? Pssh, if anybody’s got any secrets on him, I’d like to know because he’s figured it out and guys aren’t having much success against him right now. He’s pitching great, so it’ll be a fun test for us.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports