By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The script script stayed the same for the Cubs rotation Wednesday night. Right-hander Jake Arrieta continued a trend by registering a strong outing across seven innings, but he ended up with nothing to show for it this time amid his team’s 3-0 loss to the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field.
Arrieta went seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned while allowing three hits and two walks and striking out eight. His defense cost him in the sixth inning, when after a one-out single by David Peralta, A.J. Pollack hit a ball deep into the shortstop hole. Addison Russell’s threw to first was in the dirt, and he was charged with an error as Anthony Rizzo couldn’t handle it and runners ended up at the corners. Both would then score on a Jake Lamb two-run double.
Otherwise, Arrieta was sensational, like the Cubs’ rotation as a whole has been in going 11-1 with a 2.65 ERA since the All-Star break. Arrieta has a 2.08 ERA in his past six starts.
“That was reminiscent of 2015 and last year,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “There were a lot of takes on good movement. His breaking ball was sharper. He threw strikes when he wanted to, an indication of a lot of chasing. That might of been his best all year. He was really that sharp.”
After his previous outing, Arrieta had indicated the best is yet to come. He backed that up Wednesday.
“It was good,” he said. “There are still things I can do better. I had all four pitches available when I need them. So that is very positive not only for me but the team as well.”
Arrieta’s seven-inning stint matched his longest outing of the season. The Cubs purposely limited their starters’ pitch counts early in the season to help keep them fresh later.
“It pays dividends if you trust that philosophy,” Arrieta said. “It is good to kind of put your pride aside for the betterment of the ball club. We are all on board for that, even if you want to go another inning. I know I am. I have seen how that process can help you out come September and October. Going seven strong was nice. Their guy was just a little bit better.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.