Arrieta doesn’t ‘care to think about’ rotation job security originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
MILWAUKEE – Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta was matter-of-fact after a 15-7 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday.
“Pitching 1 2/3 (innings), that’s the story right there,” he said. “You’ve got to go at least six innings. That should have been a pretty easy task to complete.”
Instead, Cubs manager David Ross pulled Arrieta two outs into the second inning, after he’d walked four and given up six runs (three earned). It was his shortest outing of the season, a new low point in a month that he’d already struggled.
Asked if he’d have to re-examine Arrieta’s spot in the rotation, Ross said: “We’re going to reset this off day and go from there. I don’t know who we would replace him with.”
On paper, the series finale Wednesday set up the Cubs’ best chance to snap their losing streak and at least momentarily halt their freefall out of the top of the NL Central standings. The Brewers (48-33) were putting a 23-year-old rookie on the mound for his major-league debut. Arrieta, a former Cy Young winner, at least had experience to lean on.
Instead, the Cubs (42-39) turned a seven-run lead into a blowout loss. They closed the first half of the season six games back of division-leading Milwaukee, on a season-high six-game losing streak.
Wednesday’s disaster began with Arrieta’s start.
Arrieta (5-8, 5.57 ERA) took the mound with a seven-run lead in the first inning. The Cubs had jumped all over Milwaukee rookie Aaron Ashby, who was pulled two outs into his debut. They brought 12 batters to the plate in the first inning.
Even with that cushion, Arrieta walked three batters in the first inning. The third walk, to Jace Peterson, was with the bases loaded and two outs. It brought the Brewers’ first run of the game across the plate.
Arrieta didn’t make it out of the next inning.
He gave up a two-run homer. Then with two outs, he walked Willy Adames. Omar Narvaez’s single moved Adames to third. Arrieta induced a comebacker from Tyrone Taylor, which should have ended the inning. Instead, Arrieta’s throw pulled first baseman Patrick Wisdom into the basepath.
After the collision, Wisdom crumpled to the ground, and the ball rolled to the warning track. Two runs scored.
When Wisdom left the game, with right neck tightness and a bruised left eye, Ross also pulled Arrieta.
“Just, I didn’t get the job done,” Arrieta said. “Period. The opportunity was right there in front of me to single-handedly win the game. Really, that’s kind of how I looked at it.”
The Cubs bullpen, which had carried the best ERA in baseball (2.67) into the series, combined to give up nine runs. Infielder Eric Sogard made his second pitching appearance of the series.
“We put a lot of strain on that bullpen this year,” Ross said, “and there’s times where I’ve got to rest those guys. When you’re going to the bullpen and the second or third inning, it’s going to be tough to win those games.”
One start could be brushed aside as an anomaly. But including Wednesday’s outing, Arrieta has made three starts of three or fewer innings this month. In his past seven starts, Arrieta has a 7.82 ERA.
Asked if he thought his spot in the rotation was in jeopardy, Arrieta said: “I really don’t care to think about that.”
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