In 2015, Arrieta delivered the first of his two career no-hitters, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers with the aid of 12 strikeouts. That 2015 season with the Chicago Cubs was also the last time Arrieta had an ERA below 3.00 ... until this season with his 2.45 ERA in nine starts.
And the Dodgers surely have taken note of the fact that Arrieta (4-2) has delivered two scoreless outings in May, including his last outing when he blanked the resurgent Atlanta Braves for 6 2/3 innings on Wednesday.
Now comes the resurgent Dodgers offense that rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Phillies on Monday. At least Arrieta will be on a mound where he made history.
"I approach it pretty much the same way every start, regardless of the circumstances," Arrieta said, according to mlb.com. "I intend to go out there and throw a shutout every time I pitch. And what it takes to do that is, locate multiple pitches for strikes and go out of the zone when necessary to get big outs, swings and misses, runners in scoring position, less than two outs."
Yet outside of that no-hitter, executing his all-or-nothing approach has not always been simple for the right-hander. That no-hitter remains Arrieta's only regular-season victory against the Dodgers in five tries. He did defeat LA, though, in the 2017 postseason.
Tasked with matching pitches against Arrieta for the Dodgers is right-hander Kenta Maeda (4-3, 3.38 ERA), who has been rising to the occasion himself of late. Maeda not only struck out a season-high 12 in his outing Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies, he has 20 combined strikeouts in his last two outings.
Maeda has not only held opponents scoreless in his last two starts, he has given up a combined four hits.
"I think he trusts his pitches right now," Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said of Maeda, according to the Los Angeles Times. "He's throwing all four very effectively. I think there's a lot of confidence in him in whatever he throws up there."
Pitching duels in the current four-game series between the Phillies and Dodgers should not come as a surprise. Before the series began Monday, the Phillies' 2.31 ERA from their starters in May was second only to the Washington Nationals (2.20). The Dodgers were sixth at 2.86.
And when the series concludes Thursday, Dodgers staff ace Clayton Kershaw will return from the disabled list after left biceps tendinitis to face Phillies ace Aaron Nola.
Arrieta vs. Maeda should be plenty to hold everybody's attention until later in the week.
The Phillies will enter Tuesday's game just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East, even with Monday's loss. With their late rally Monday, the Dodgers have won nine of their last 11 games.