The Philadelphia Phillies entered this week's three-game series against the Chicago Cubs scuffling and hoping to reverse their direction.
As it turns out, Jake Arrieta's angry rant over the weekend provided the motivation.
After Arrieta, the former Cubs ace, expressed frustration with his new team's recent performance, the Phillies responded with a 6-1 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday. The win -- highlighted by Zach Eflin's 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, snapped Chicago's four-game winning streak and more importantly for Philadelphia, provided the Phillies with their first victory in their last four games.
Two days after saying the Phillies needed more accountability and if no one was willing to provide it, he would, Arrieta declared that he and his teammates were all on the same page.
"I'd do anything for these guys and they know that it's coming from a good place," Arrieta told reporters on Tuesday, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. "They know it's not a hostile position or disrespectful. Sometimes, certain things need to be said to make a statement."
Arrieta said Tuesday that he and manager Gabe Kaplan have spoken three times over the past two days. But as the Phillies look to make it two straight over the Cubs on Wednesday, Arrieta is just looking for his team to get back to the winning brand of baseball it was playing before Philadelphia's losing skid.
"If sometimes you have to say something that's true that might hurt someone's feelings but then you clear the air and have the conversation, you hash things out afterward," said Arrieta, who won't pitch against his former team this week. "As long as you're able to work through those things, I think that's what the best do. I think we're pretty happy that transpired."
Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.18 ERA) will start Wednesday, hoping to follow up on Eflin's impressive outing. Nola won four of his five starts in May and has just allowed one run in each of his victories in a month when he struck out 46 hitters, including a pair of double-digit strikeout efforts. Nola is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA in his lone career start against the Cubs.
The Cubs will look to rebound Tuesday after losing for just the second time in the past nine games. Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.30) will attempt to get the Cubs back on a winning track Wednesday and has won two of his past three starts and is coming off a strong start when he didn't allow a run and just three hits while striking out six over six innings against the New York Mets. Quintana is 0-1 with a 7.46 ERA in two career starts against Philadelphia.
The Cubs played Tuesday without shortstop Addison Russell, who underwent an MRI on his sprained left middle finger, which he injured during an at-bat against the Mets on Sunday.
But the bigger injury concern remains with struggling Cubs starter Yu Darvish, who remains out with inflammation in his right triceps. Darvish played catch on Tuesday, but manager Joe Maddon told reporters Tuesday he does not yet have a timeline for a Darvish return.
Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts.
"There's no finish line," Maddon said, according to the team's official website. "I'm hoping it's not too long, but I think during the course of this week we'll have a better idea of what the finish line will be."