CHICAGO — Cubs righty Jake Arrieta pushed back Tuesday night on the notion that he might be done as an effective starter after lasting just 1 2/3 innings for the second consecutive outing in Chicago’s 15-10 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Not even close,” Arrieta said after the Cubs’ 11th consecutive defeat. “This sucks. Really, it does. But I’m not going to hang my head. I’m going to continue to work. I’m going to do whatever needs to be done.”
Arrieta blamed poor execution for his recent stretch. After compiling a 2.57 ERA through his first five starts of the season, the 35-year-old veteran has produced an 8.55 mark over his past 12, easily the highest in the league during that timeframe.
“I know where my stuff ranks in the game,” Arrieta said. “I watch a lot of baseball, and it’s still there. It is. This is a tough stretch for us as a team and for me individually.”
The Cubs have lost the second-most consecutive games for a team after throwing a no-hitter, while Tuesday’s defeat was the fourth during the streak in which they gave up at least 10 runs. It’s the first time since 2000 they gave up 13 or more runs in consecutive games. The Phillies beat them 13-3 on Monday.
“I contributed to the continued stretch that we’re on, and that doesn’t sit well with me at all,” Arrieta said. “There is still a lot left in the tank. No question about that. The stuff plays. The execution is not there. It hasn’t been for a while but I’ve been in similar situations in my career. I’ve been in worse situations than this.”
The Cubs don’t have a lot behind Arrieta to replace him in the rotation even if they wanted to. Manager David Ross was asked what he’s considering when Arrieta’s turn is up again this weekend.
“I have to look at that,” Ross said. “We have a lot going on, 11 losses in a row. I think there is a lot to look at. I’ll wrap my brain around this one tonight. I’ll attack the problems in the morning.”
Meanwhile, the Phillies have scored 28 runs on 26 hits over the first two games of the series. On Tuesday, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins became the first Phillies trio with a HR and four RBIs in a game since 2009 and the fourth trio to do it for the Phillies since RBIs became official in 1920.
The Phillies are also the first team this season to have the first four batters in the first inning score on a grand slam. McCutchen took Arrieta deep just 10 pitches into the contest, eventually leading to Arrieta being asked whether he was nearing the end of his career.
“I understand the question,” he said. “I expect it. But whatever has to be done will be done. There is no question in my mind.”
This is Arrieta’s second stint with the Cubs after helping them to a World Series title in 2016. He won the National League Cy Young with them the previous year while throwing two no-hitters during his time as a Cub. He signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Phillies in 2018 but came back to Chicago this season on a one-year, $6 million contract.
It has been a trying three months for him, but he’s adamant he can return to being a successful pitcher.
“I have all the tools,” he said. “I know what needs to be done.”