The last time Jake Arrieta lost a game, the Cubs had to get no-hit for it to happen, last July 25. Since then he had won 20 straight decisions (the last 11 of 2015, and first nine of 2016).
This was a strange outing for Jake even before the "L" was put after his name in the boxscore. He had no-hit stuff, hitting 96 on the Wrigley pitch speed meter several times. But he left a few fastballs up in the zone, and the D-backs parlayed that into a pair of second-inning runs on a double by Yasmany Tomas, and another run on an RBI single by Paul Goldschmidt in the third. That last run turned out to be the difference in Arizona's 3-2 win over the Cubs, which snapped a four-game winning streak.
In between all those runs, Jake was striking out Diamondbacks every time you turned around. Of the 15 outs he recorded, 12 were by strikeout. The others: a ground ball to short by Goldschmidt, pitcher Patrick Corbin getting caught stealing, and a rundown after an infield hit that ended the fifth inning.
Cubs pitchers continued to strike out Arizona hitters after Jake's departure. Trevor Cahill struck out four of the seven batters he faced, and Travis Wood added a pair. The 18 total strikeouts equaled the second-highest nine-inning total in Cubs history (I'm sure you know the one that was more) and is the 53rd time an individual or team has struck out 18 or more batters in nine innings, and fourth time this year. Here are Jake's 12 strikeouts in 12 seconds:
More on the Cubs Ks:
#Cubs pitching: 18 strikeouts— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 5, 2016
(Arrieta 12, Cahill 4, T. Wood 2)
Most by Cubs in 9-inning game since 8/26/98
(K. Wood 16, Beck 2)
The Cubs plated a run on a double by Arrieta in the second inning that missed being a home run by maybe four or five feet [VIDEO]. Jake wound up stranded at second when Dexter Fowler grounded to third base, one of 15 outs recorded by Corbin on ground balls. Give Corbin credit; he had a sinker working that Cubs hitters kept pounding into the ground, and D-backs infielders made nice plays on several of them.
Everyone except Javier Baez, who got a ball up in the jetstream heading to right field for a solo homer in the sixth [VIDEO], his fourth long ball of the season. That made the score 3-2, but the Cubs could score no more. They had a runner on base via walk in the eighth (Ben Zobrist) and ninth (pinch-hitter Anthony Rizzo, who otherwise had the day off), but could not advance either runner past first base.
Jake Arrieta was so good for the second half of last year, pulling off a run that hadn't been done by anyone in the history of baseball, and almost as good up to now in 2016, that it seems strange when he has an "off" day like this one, allowing nine hits and three runs in five innings. Maybe it's a good thing the Cubs don't have to face the D-backs any more this year:
Jake Arrieta this season:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 5, 2016
vs Diamondbacks: 12.0 IP, 6 ER (4.50 ERA)
vs everyone else: 68.0 IP, 10 ER (1.32 ERA)#Cubs
Joe Maddon got himself tossed from this one for arguing that Goldschmidt went through on a checked swing on this 3-2 pitch:
I think Maddon had a point -- sure looked like Goldy swung at that one. It wound up not mattering, as he was stranded at second base, after stealing it without a throw from Miguel Montero. I'm beginning to be a bit concerned about Montero, whose hitting hasn't been good since his return from the DL, and whose defense hasn't really been good all year.
Cubs walk watch: the Cubs didn't have a walk until the eighth inning of this one, and for a time it looked like the second game this year where they would go walkless. The two walks they did get raised the season total to 250, or 4.55 per game. Pace: 736, which would still be enough to break the National League record (732, by the 1947 Dodgers). At the current pace, the Cubs would break the team record (650) in game 143, September 12 against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Even with this defeat, played before a disappointed full house of 41,596 (third-biggest Wrigley crowd of the year) on a gorgeous afternoon, the Cubs had a very successful homestand at 8-2. With the Pirates also losing Sunday, the Cubs' road trip begins with them still holding a 9½ game lead in the National League Central.
The Cubs now stand 22-8 at home and 17-8 on the road, and they'll have to be good road warriors for the next six weeks. From Monday until the All-Star break, they will have 23 of 33 games away from Wrigley Field.
Jon Lester opens the series in Philadelphia Monday evening against Adam Morgan, a pitching rematch of the first game of the Phillies series at Wrigley last week.