If there was anybody in need of a change in fortune in the Cubs’ rotation, it was Jake Arrieta. Arrieta came into Friday’s game against the Dodgers 1-4 with a 7.22 ERA over his last seven starts, making his most recent outing of crucial importance.
Arrieta was able to stop the bleeding on his rough stretch in the Cubs’ 6-2 loss to the Dodgers and did exactly what the Cubs need him to do.
“I think it was just okay,” Arrieta said. “I was able to minimize damage and keep it keep it within reach. ... I could have thrown the ball better, though. At the end of the day, would have liked to be better for us.”
There was traffic all night against the Cubs starter, but unlike his last handful of starts, he was able to work out of jams.
The night looked like it was going to go south for Arrieta in the fifth inning and after a dropped popup at second base by Ian Happ, the Dodgers would load the bases with a single and a walk.
But Arrieta bared down and made pitches when he needed to and was able to get a much-needed groundout to end the inning without allowing any damage.
“I think all starts are big. I don’t put more importance on one than the other,” manager David Ross said. “I think he threw the ball pretty well. I thought some areas he looked sharp. Breaking stuff looked really good, a couple of changeups. Just some misfires, but I thought he used both sides of the plate really well.”
The Cubs defense didn’t help Arrieta with miscues by Happ and Anthony Rizzo, leading to extra pitches and an additional run on the board. He likely would have made it to the sixth inning with fewer than 80 pitches.
The right-hander finished the game going five innings allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts. It was just the second time since April 25 he’s allowed one earned run in a start.
The Cubs still need more length out of Arrieta and while Friday’s start was a step in the right direction, he’ll need to show that he can duplicate his performance.
“I don’t think the results completely indicate [it], but we definitely are moving in the right direction,” he said. “When I went into lefties with the fastball I was it was kind of pulled across the plate, and then the homer was supposed to be in and it kind of leaked back to the middle third of the plate. And that’s something that we’re going to tighten up over the next couple of days.”