The reeling Chicago Cubs desperately needed a strong start out of Jake Arrieta Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, but the veteran pitcher was once again shelled and yanked early amid ongoing struggles on the mound in a 15-10 loss.
Despite the troubling lack of success this season, the one-time Cy Young Award winner nevertheless remains confident in himself and believes it’s not the end of the road for him as an effective starting pitcher.
“Not even close,” Arrieta said after lasting only 1 2/3 innings and giving up seven earned runs on six hits against his former, per ESPN. “This sucks. Really, it does. But I’m not going to hang my head. I’m going to continue to work. I’m going to do whatever needs to be done.”
As noted in ESPN’s write-up, Arrieta got off to a strong start this season, posting 2.57 ERA through his first five starts. Things have since taken a turn for the worse, however. Arrieta has compiled an 8.55 ERA in his past 12 outings. On the season, he is 5-9 across 17 starts with a 6.30 ERA and 1.641 WHIP.
What’s most concerning about Arrieta is how his ineffectiveness comes with the Cubs in the throes of a potentially season-crushing 11-game losing streak. The pitcher, in his second stint with the Cubs after signing a one-year, $6 million contract following a three-year run with the Phillies, acknowledged after the game his role in the devastating slide by the team.
“I contributed to the continued stretch that we’re on, and that doesn’t sit well with me at all,” Arrieta said. “There is still a lot left in the tank. No question about that. The stuff plays. The execution is not there. It hasn’t been for a while but I’ve been in similar situations in my career. I’ve been in worse situations than this.”
The 11-game slide has led to a plunge down the NL Central standings for the Cubs. At 42-44, they sit nine games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers (51-35) and eight games out in the NL wild-card race. If the Cubs are to somehow turn things around — something that critically must come sooner rather than later — the team will need a return to some semblance of form out of the 35-year-old Arrieta.
“I have all the tools,” Arrieta said. “I know what needs to be done.”