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Pirates 12, Cubs 0: Jake Arrieta possibly injured in blowout loss

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The big righthander appears to have a leg injury.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I’m getting kind of tired of writing “(name of Cubs player) injured” in these recap headlines.

But that’s what might have happened again in Monday’s 12-0 loss to the Pirates. In the bottom of the third inning with the Cubs trailing 2-0 and Jake Arrieta having already allowed two homers, Jake came down awkwardly on a pitch to Josh Bell and grabbed at his right leg.

Trainer PJ Mainville and manager Joe Maddon came out and Jake tried to throw a warmup toss but couldn’t even push off on the leg and left the game.

It could be a hamstring injury. If so, that could put him out for the rest of the regular season. Or:

Well, that’s much better news than I thought while I was watching Jake being helped off the field. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than the “cramp” Joe referred to and Jake can make his next start, which would come up Saturday against the Brewers.

This is going to be one of my shortest recaps ever. There’s not much more to be said about this game; the Cubs did have a chance to score trailing just 2-0 in the second inning. Ben Zobrist led off with a single and Alex Avila walked. After Jason Heyward lined to left, Mike Freeman got his first Cubs hit, a single to left.

I doubt I’ve typed Gary Jones’ name more than once or twice in the three-plus seasons he’s been the Cubs’ third base coach, but he’s mentioned here because he made an absolutely terrible send on Zobrist, who was thrown out easily.

If Zobrist holds at third, the Cubs have the bases loaded and one out and maybe they score a run or two and make a game of it.

But after Jake left the game, similar to what happened Sunday after Javier Baez departed with an injury, the team just went flat. I can understand completely if their minds were on their injured teammates rather than on the game itself; that’s just human nature. The Cubs simply could not generate any real offense the rest of the way, though they did have a couple of runners on with one out in the eighth, and again could not score.

Dillon Maples, who looked so good Sunday — Monday, not so much. He faced six batters and five of them reached base and after that Joe threw up his hands and put Leonys Martin, the Cubs’ newly-acquired outfielder, in to pitch the rest of the eighth inning. The results were, as you might imagine, not good. Martin gave up a run-scoring single, a run-scoring groundout and a two-run homer.

I can’t recall ever seeing a Cubs position player have his first appearance with the team as a pitcher. For that matter, it might never have happened for any team. So... I guess, thanks to Martin for saving the rest of the bullpen for an inning, and hopefully, Leonys, Joe will give you an at-bat or three somewhere along the line.

Hey, these kinds of games happen, and all we can do is hope Jake is all right. The Brewers lost Monday afternoon on a walkoff homer by, of all people, Billy Hamilton. It was the first walkoff home run of Hamilton’s career. So the Cubs maintain their 3½-game lead over the Brewers. The Cardinals defeated the Padres Monday, so they move to within five games of first place.

If you’re feeling kind of down because of these injuries, read this:

You’ll recall the Indians lost two of their most important starting pitchers for the entire postseason, and still got to Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs have been a resilient team before and I don’t see any reason they can’t be again.

They’ll look to even up the series against the Pirates Tuesday evening. Kyle Hendricks goes for the Cubs and Steven Brault for Pittsburgh.