MILWAUKEE – The radar gun might not lie, but it doesn’t always tell the whole truth.
And, truth be told, Jake Arrieta isn’t worried about it either way.
Arrieta won his second decision of the season in two starts Sunday as he and his Cubs teammates beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-4, at Miller Park.
The Cubs took two of three in the series as they did in St. Louis in the opening series of the season. They come home Monday night for the Wrigley Field opener.
As for Arrieta, he might not be throwing 96-, 97-, 98-mph fastballs, but he still struck out 10 Brewers while walking only two. He worked seven innings of three-hit, three-run ball to run his record to 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
“Everybody wants to talk about this,” he said of velocity. “There are FanGraphs articles. I don’t care about that. I know that kind of stuff can come and go from time to time. I had periods last year where I was at the same spot I’m at right now. I had one in June, near the All-Star break.
“It is what it is. I still have a good feel for everything. Movement is really good.”
Most important, the command is good for Arrieta, who has 42 wins since the start of his 2015 Cy Young season.
“When the 95-97 comes back, it’s going to be tough for teams, and it still is,” he said. “Where I am now in my career I don’t worry about it because I know that I’m smart enough to work around that, and the velocity is still good enough to get it by guys and to do certain things in certain situations with it.”
Manager Joe Maddon likes this Arrieta look.
“Great command of his fastball and a really good curveball,” Maddon said. “Ten punchouts and about 100 pitches is really efficient, too. He was really on top of his game today. And I love the delivery. I love the command. That’s the thing. He didn’t hit 95 or 96 or whatever, but he knew where the fastball was going. I much prefer that over velocity.”
Arrieta’s teammates staked him to a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Zach Davies by sending nine men to the plate. Addison Russell had a two-run double, and Jason Heyward followed with a two-run triple.
After a down year at the plate in 2016, Heyward is off to a 7-for-21 start.
“Just try to go up there and be aggressive in the strike zone,” he said. “Put a good swing on the ball and see what happens after that.”
Heyward had an RBI single in the seventh and was robbed at the wall in center field in the ninth on a leaping catch by Keon Broxton, a play that prompted Heyward to tip his helmet to Broxton.
The Cubs scored 11 runs on 17 hits in Saturday’s victory. They picked up 11 hits Sunday, with more hard-hit balls than they had the previous night.
Kyle Schwarber led off the second with a home run, and Ben Zobrist homered in the seventh. The Brewers had pulled within 5-3 in the third on a three-run homer by Ryan Braun.
All in all, the Cubs will take a 4-2 road trip to start the season.
“Coming out of spring training, going to Houston for a couple of days, spending a week in St. Louis with days off and coming here and playing well, you could just see the attitude of our guys,” Maddon said. “They were definitely ready to play today on a Sunday day game, wanting to go home with winning two series. I thought we did a great job.”
• Follow Bruce Miles’ baseball
reports on Twitter @BruceMiles112.