Arrieta battered by Brewers while Burnes dominates
Just based on the pitching matchup, anyone familiar with Major League Baseball knew this one could get out of hand. And it did.
Former Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta continued to struggle, giving up 7 runs to Milwaukee in the top of the first inning at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lost 10-0.
Brewers starter Corbin Burnes, meanwhile, tied a major league record by striking out 10 straight Cubs before Matt Duffy finally collected a base hit in the fifth inning. Burnes piled up a career-high 15 strikeouts, throwing just 99 pitches over 8 innings. He walked no one, while the Cubs managed 4 hits.
The top of the first inning was rough, sad, frustrating, all of the above for the Cubs. Seven of the first eight Milwaukee batters collected solid hits off Arrieta, including 2 doubles.
One sort-of bright spot was Arrieta finished the inning and pitched through the fourth, allowing just 1 more run.
"It's a tough way to start the game," Arrieta said. "Everything they hit was in a hole or not hit very hard but found some space in the outfield. It's tough. Made quite a few good pitches and they found holes."
Needless to say, his return home has occurred without a return to the Cubs glory days. Arrieta does have 5 wins and his is now 6.88, so he has been competitive at times.
"Honestly, I go into every start with the intent to have a lot of success," he said. "And that's the only mindset you can have at this level. Obviously the confidence doesn't match the results. That's something I'm going to have to deal with. Am I happy about it? No, but being unhappy about it isn't going to change how I move forward and approach the remainder of this season. This game is extremely difficult."
The Cubs have lost the last eight games he started and Arrieta has given up at least 6 runs in five of his last 10 appearances. It's fair to ask how much longer the Cubs will stick with the 35-year-old right-hander.
Manager David Ross was asked before the game if Arrieta deserves more leeway, since he was so dominant in the past.
"Me personally, outside of being manager, I would definitely say yeah, I would like to give him as much runway as possible," Ross said. "I think this game is harsh at times too. I think there's some hard realities in this game that don't always allow that."
At this point, wins don't really matter for the Cubs, though six straight home losses to the White Sox and Brewers have to be frustrating for fans. The Cubs do have Keegan Thompson stretching out in Iowa to be a starter, so he'll likely join the Cubs rotation soon.
"Jake's in a unique spot where he's trying to kind of clean up his year like some of the guys around here and finish strong and continue his baseball career," Ross said. "He's done really special things and continues to impact this organization and the young guys here.
"I think he's done a phenomenal job (of being a mentor). Like yesterday I'm looking down there and him and Adbert (Alzolay) and (coach Mike) Borzello were down here taking baseball and pitching. That stuff can't be understated. That stuff's not around our game enough.
"Our game's gone really young and I understand a lot of that, but there's also still that veteran voice that's competed at a high level that has World Series rings, experience, has carried the load in some of the biggest moments in this organization's history. ... To pull from that the routine, the preparation, the mindset, the mentality, the way he competes, the way he works, all those things. It can't be overstated."
The Brewers suffered a couple of injuries in the game. Avisail Garcia left in the first inning after getting hit on the hand. The team called it a left hand contusion. Rowdy Tellez left with right knee discomfort.
By striking out 10 Cubs in a row, Burnes tied a record set by Tom Seaver in 1970 and the Phillies' Aaron Nola earlier this season.