Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta is human. He’s not an alien, he’s not a cyborg sent from the future and he’s not from Krypton. He’s just like any other pitcher.
We wouldn’t blame you for thinking Arrieta was of another world recently. The reigning Cy Young winner had been on a fantastic run since last July. During that period, he’s posted superhuman numbers. Over 24 starts, Arrieta was 20-0, with a 1.01 ERA over 169 1/3 innings. He was basically an automatic win every time he took the mound.
That streak ended Sunday against the Arizona Diamonbacks. Arizona scored all three of its runs against Arrieta during the club’s 3-2 win, saddling him with his first loss in nearly a year.
The last time Arrieta lost a game Cole Hamels was still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s easy to remember because Arrieta’s last loss occurred on July 25, 2015, which was also Hamels’ final start with Philadelphia. As you may remember, Hamels threw a no-hitter that day. Arrieta didn’t pitch poorly, posting a quality start, but was bested by a tremendous performance.
While Arrieta put up decent numbers against Arizona on Sunday, they were pedestrian based on what we’ve come to expect from the 30-year-old ace. Arrieta allowed three runs on nine hits over five innings. He struck out 12 and only walked one.
During the 24 starts Arrieta made between losses, he won 20 of them and received no decisions in four of them. The Cubs managed to win three of the four no decisions.
In order to find the last time the Cubs lost a game started by Arrieta, you don’t have to go back that far. The only time the club lost a game started by Arrieta over his stretch occurred in his last start. On May 31, the Cubs dropped a 5-0 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arrieta threw seven scoreless innings during the start, but the team’s offense failed to support him and the bullpen couldn’t keep Los Angeles off the board.
Despite Sunday’s loss, the Cubs are still destroying every team in their path. The club went 8-2 on its latest home stand, with both losses somehow coming in games started by Arrieta. That’s not going to happen very often.
Is this proof that Arrieta is actually human? We can’t be entirely sure. Given his competitive nature, we wouldn’t be surprised if Arrieta hid some kryptonite in his back pocket during his last two starts just to give himself a challenge.
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