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Giants 8, Cubs 5: What’s wrong with Jake Arrieta?

The Cubs righthander is going through rough times.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Here’s one answer to the question posed in the headline to this recap:

Well, okay, I understand that. (Maybe that would have been a reason to scratch him from the start and go with Keegan Thompson, too.)

It doesn’t seem like just that, though. Arrieta had a good start to this season, but since the end of April he’s been just bad. Granted that he’s 35 and no one expected him to be the 2015-16 version of himself, but I don’t think anyone expected this, either. Over his last six starts Jake has an ERA of 8.28, a 1.840 WHIP and nine home runs allowed in 25 innings. Yikes.

Jake got torched for six runs in the second inning and the Cubs lost their second straight to the Giants, 8-5.

The game started out well for the Cubs, though. Willson Contreras led off with a single and the next hitter, Kris Bryant, did this [VIDEO].

Three pitches, two runs. That’s pretty efficient!

The Cubs could not do anything else in the first, and went scoreless in the second, and that was followed by the aforementioned six-run Giants inning. I’ll spare you the carnage, though it did include two home runs, one of them when Jake was one strike from getting out of the inning with “only” three runs allowed.

Thompson then replaced Arrieta and threw one scoreless inning, and then the Cubs tried to get back into it. Patrick Wisdom walked leading off the fourth and Joc was next [VIDEO].

That homer, Joc’s second in as many games, brought the Cubs to within 6-4 and with five innings to go, it seemed as if they had a shot to get back in the game.

Unfortunately, Thompson, who had thrown quite well up to this week, gave up back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fourth to Jason Vosler (the former Cubs farmhand) and LaMonte Wade Jr., who sounds like he should be the star of a 1940s horror movie. This game was starting to turn into a source of horror for the Cubs, who now trailed 8-4.

They made an attempt to get back in the game in the next inning. Willson Contreras walked and Kris Bryant reached on an error. KB moved up to third on an infield out and Javy Báez plated Willson [VIDEO].

But the Cubs had just one more baserunner after that. Sergio Alcántara tripled with two out in the sixth, but was stranded. In a very small sample size, Alcántara is 6-for-13 with two doubles and two triples since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa last weekend. He’s certainly earned a longer look, since he plays solid defense at second base.

Dan Winkler, Brad Wieck, Tommy Nance and Dillon Maples each threw a scoreless inning, which at least kept the game close.

One last note: There was a bit of a kerfuffle between Contreras and Anthony Rizzo in the dugout at the end of the seventh inning:

Here is an explanation, of sorts:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Rizzo quite so animated about a teammate. Hopefully that’s all it was, a “brotherly love” disagreement. Here’s more on this from David Ross [VIDEO].

The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals lost to the Reds Friday evening, so Milwaukee moved ahead of St. Louis into second place in the NL Central, one game back. The Cardinals remained 1½ games behind the Cubs.

I had said in the series preview that I’d be satisfied if the Cubs could split this four-game set. They can still do that by winning the last two games, but the pitching matchup for Saturday’s contest doesn’t make things any easier. Kohl Stewart will start for the Cubs. He was very good Monday against the Padres. Kevin Gausman is scheduled to go for the Giants, and he has been excellent so far this year. Game time Saturday is 6:15 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be on your local Fox-TV channel (coverage map). A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch tonight’s game via those services if the game isn’t on the Fox station in your market.