If there are curses in baseball, then everyone has to talk about a curse based on the New York Mets. It seems that the curse was put on last fall when these two clubs faced each other in the NLCS. Last night, the Cubs had their ace on the mound and even the mighty Jake Arrieta couldn’t lift the hex between the two teams as they fell 4-3 and now have lost their third straight game.
“Poor performance on my end,” Arrieta said. “The command wasn’t great, the stuff wasn’t very good. Overall, just didn’t give the effort my team needed tonight. I needed to be more of a stopper and put a stop to the bleeding. In the fourth, gave up a few more hits than I would’ve liked.”
Although on opposite ends of the spectrum, Arrieta’s struggles of late compared to Kris Bryant‘s success(tied for the lead in the majors in home runs with 23) can add to the Cubs slump. Nobody said this season’s going to be easy, so when the reigning National League Cy Young winner is not playing with his best stuff by not completing six innings of work in his last three starts, it’s tough not to worry.
“It’s frustrating for me,” he said. “I expect a lot more out of myself, and to let it continue for three, four starts is not something that I like to see happen. … I just need to do a better job of being aggressive early in the count and forcing the issue.”
But with the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants nipping at their heels, what can the Cubs do? They certainly can’t send him down to Triple A to work on his pitches. Maybe they can shuffle the rotation around or possibly give him a few more days off? The fact remains that the dude needs to get back in sync. Something’s off with him and he needs to find out the problem. We’ve seen him at his best and the Cubs need him back in his form before September rolls around.
“He’s like a metronome, man,” Joe Maddon said. “He just keeps doing the same things. If you were to speak to Jake tomorrow, I promise you he would be the same guy as when he won [nine] games in a row. He’d be the same cat. I have all the faith in the world he’ll correct it. In the meantime, nobody’s perfect, man.”
There’s no question that this is the toughest part of the baseball season. It’s a week before All Star break. With a 162 game schedule, even the mightiest of arms get tired, eyes get blurry on the swings and muscles begin to ache. The Cubs will end this slump.
“I don’t think there’s a big cause for concern,” Arrieta said. “Every team, regardless of if you’re in first or last place, every team has those spells where you might struggle a little bit and things aren’t going as well as you’d expect. From my perspective, individually, it’s one of those spells for me. I’m resilient, I’ll bounce back. I’ll get to the point where I was early in the season and last year soon. This won’t continue. It’s frustrating it has gone for this long of a period. We’ll make it right.”