I don’t usually put a photo of a Cubs opponent at the top of a game recap, but Brewers starter Corbin Burnes was the top story from Wednesday’s 10-0 Cubs loss to Milwaukee, the Cubs’ seventh straight defeat, so it seemed appropriate for the biggest story of the game.
I’ll get to some Cubs-related things in a moment, but first, let’s talk about Burnes striking out 10 consecutive Cubs from the second inning through the top of the fifth, tying a major-league record.
This had been done just twice prior to Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver did it for the Mets against the Padres April 22, 1970. In Seaver’s game, he K’d the final 10 Padres of the contest, won 2-1 by the Mets, and in so doing he tied the then-MLB record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Al Ferrara of San Diego was the two-time victim, the first of the 10 straight and then the last, striking out to end the game.
That record stood alone for 51 years, until it was tied about six weeks ago by Aaron Nola of the Phillies — against Seaver’s old team, the Mets, June 25 at Citi Field. Nola did this in the first game of a doubleheader, and Michael Conforto started and ended the streak. The score was also 2-1 in that game, but the Phillies lost in eight innings (in a scheduled seven-inning game).
Frank Schwindel might not be remembered for much as a Cub, but he’ll get his name in the record books as the first and the 10th K victim of Burnes in Wednesday night’s game.
If you don’t want to watch all 10, here’s the last one, of Schwindel [VIDEO].
Matt Duffy ended Burnes’ streak by singling to right. At the time it was just the Cubs’ second hit of the game. Rafael Ortega had led off the bottom of the first with a single, but after a force play, a double play ended that inning. Burnes threw just four pitches in the first inning and for a time he appeared as if he might have a chance at a Maddux (a complete-game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches), but a two-hit Cubs eighth inning ended that possibility and also got Burnes out of the game, having struck out 15 Cubs. More on all the Cubs strikeouts later.
More on Burnes:
Corbin Burnes finished with 15 strikeouts, 2nd-most in a game in Brewers history (Ben Sheets - 18 K in 2004).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 12, 2021
Burnes threw 99 pitches. He joins Gerrit Cole (2019) as the only pitchers with at least 15 strikeouts on fewer than 100 pitches since tracking began in 1988. pic.twitter.com/4HodZ5tDoc
Before any of the above happened, Jake Arrieta got torched for seven runs in the first inning. Remember last week when, after Jake’s previous start in Colorado, I headlined the recap “It’s time to end the Jake Arrieta experiment?” This one was going to get the same headline until Burnes’ historic performance. We all love Jake Arrieta for his no-hitters, his otherworldly 2015 season and his 2016 postseason heroics. But this... this is just embarrassing. As a competitor, I’m sure Arrieta wants to continue to go out there and try to recover past glory, or at least be competent. To me, it’s absolutely clear that he’s got nothing left. The Cubs need to find some sort of injury he has to take time off for, put him back on the injured list, and give Keegan Thompson some time in the big-league rotation.
Jake has -2.3 bWAR this year. Only Eugenio Suarez (-2.4) has had a worse bWAR season; no other pitcher besides Jake has anything worse than -1.9 (Matt Shoemaker).
Please, Cubs. Don’t embarrass Jake any further.
And speaking further about embarrassment, I wanted to say a few things about the 26-man roster the Cubs have put on the field post-selloff. I know some of you had said this might be the worst Cubs team ever, and I wanted to reserve judgment until I saw them in person. Having seen them for six games at home now, I think I can confidently state that not only is this probably the worst Cubs team ever, it might be the worst team any club has ever put on the field. It’s an expansion-level ballclub at best, a Triple-A team at worst. They might win a few games against the Royals, Rockies, Pirates and Twins, other bad teams they’ll face, but... seriously, Jed Hoyer, this is just embarrassing, and I know I have used that word several times already here, but there really isn’t another word to describe what we are witnessing. There have to be other guys in the Cubs system Hoyer might like to take a look at: Michael Hermosillo, Alfonso Rivas, Ben Leeper, just to name a handful.
I understand the reasons for the selloff and I’m not complaining about that at all. But please, put some better players on this roster.
Here, I’ll give you one positive thing about this game: Michael Rucker threw three relief innings and struck out five Brewers, while allowing just two hits. Here are all five of Rucker’s strikeouts [VIDEO].
More on all the strikeouts: As noted above, the Cubs have lost seven in a row. They have struck out at least 10 times in all of those games, a total of 93, averaging 13 per game. They have struck out 1,131 times this year, second-most in MLB — and you might be surprised at the leader, the AL East-leading Rays, currently with 1,142. If the Cubs keep up their current season pace of strikeouts (9.75 per game), they will K 1,580 times. That would break the franchise record of 1,518, set in 2015, but just miss the MLB record of 1,595, set by the 2019 Tigers.
But if the Cubs continue at the K pace they’ve had since the selloff — which is 11.4 per game in 12 games, in which they are 2-10 — they will strike out approximately 525 more times this year. That would give them 1,656 strikeouts for the season, which would blow the current MLB record away.
I realize strikeouts are up across MLB in general and have been for a few years. But that’s just ridiculous. And... embarrassing.
The Cubs might have a slight chance of avoiding a sweep Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field, though once again I have to tell you about a chance of rain (it didn’t rain during the game Wednesday, first time since Saturday that rain did not affect the game at Wrigley). The reason for potential sweep avoidance is Kyle Hendricks, who will start for the Cubs. Brandon Woodruff is the scheduled starter for the Brewers. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.