The Jake Arrieta Question, the Worst Offensive Month, Yankees, Bauer, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Jake Arrieta Question, the Worst Offensive Month, Yankees, Bauer, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I had planned to work at a certain location today – like, the kind of planning where you’re thinking about what you’re gonna eat and drink at various times, where you start to get stoked about it (relatively speaking (find the small joys where you can get them!)) – and then at the location, the internet didn’t work. And they messed up my breakfast sandwich. Booooo … I’ll be all right. But I’m a big delayed.

•   Bigger picture discussions coming (and also earlier), but as for yesterday’s game … the Jake Arrieta thing. If you weren’t already on the precipice of saying it’s time to part ways, I don’t really know how you’re not there after what we just saw. For an established veteran – who is out there specifically because he can give you innings, even if the stuff isn’t what it once was – to be given a seven-run lead and then be unable to just throw strikes? You can’t have that. I don’t care how bad the rotation is otherwise, you cannot have that kind of outing happen and expect to stay competitive this year. And that’s before the game was even fully blown. I mean, the one run he walked in in the first – with wildness and nibbling and poor execution – already had me like, what are you doing, man? I love all that Arrieta contributed to the Cubs in the past, and nothing will erase those positive vibes and memories. But if you’re asking me right now would I rather Arrieta take his next start or someone like Keegan Thompson get three+ innings, or call up almost any of the Triple-A starters to just say eff it and see what happens? I’m probably taking the latter, because even if it’s a lateral move from Arrieta, at least you’re getting some information for the future.

•   It’s all on the table now, pretty clearly. Because here’s how each of Arrieta and David Ross talked about the status of the rotation after the game (The Athletic):

For a team that fancies itself a contender for its division — and hopefully more — it’s getting harder and harder to justify sending Arrieta to the mound every fifth day.

“I really don’t care to think about that,” Arrieta said about potentially losing his spot in the rotation. “You can ask David if you wanna ask David about that.”

It’s Ross’ job to think about that. And it sounds like that will be on the docket as the Cubs head to Cincinnati for the weekend.

“We’re gonna reset this off-day and go from there,” Ross said. “I don’t know who we would replace him with.”

•   When the manager’s best defense of your rotation spot is “who else is there?,” then your hold is rather tenuous. Because we can answer that question, especially as Trevor Williams gets close to a return. There’s him, there’s Thompson, there’s Kohl Stewart, there’s Cory Abbott, there’s Mike Hauschild (whom Bryan just noted threw a gem yesterday at Iowa). Nope, I’m not getting tickled about any of those options at the moment, but Arrieta is statistically among the five or six worst starting pitchers in baseball at this point. It’s sad, but it’s just data. Those guys could be worse, yes, but at least you’d get them experience and you’d get yourself information. And there’s a reality here: we already knew, coming into this season, that Arrieta’s performance the last couple years had been brutal. But the hope was that MAYBE he could become a different type of pitcher upon returning to the Cubs. That hasn’t happened, so there’s little reason to bet on a big turnaround from here:

(Statcast Metrics for Jake Arrieta)

•   The starting pitching will continue to get a lot of the negative attention, deservedly, but it’s important to remember that the Cubs had the worst offense in baseball in June (it was one of their worst offensive months in history!). Not that it’s the perfect marker, but their team batting average for June (.1875) was the worst in any month for the team since 1900 (Rogers).

•   that slugging tho 👀 :

•   I think there’s a whole lotta truth to the following tweet – there’s a lot more going on, too (the schedule, the injuries, the rotation, the slumps) – and it’s worth using as a check on yourself:

•   Welcome to the club, Yankees. They scored 7 runs in the first inning and bounced the starting pitcher before he could get out of the inning (in their case, Shohei Ohtani!) … and then lost the game 11-8. The big blow was a 9th inning grand slam off of Aroldis Chapman:

•   Chapman has allowed 11 ER over his last 5.2 innings. Yikes. The local media is describing that loss as maybe having “burned down” the Yankees’ season. And that was a day AFTER their own GM said the team “suck[s] right now.” So, again, welcome to the club. The Yankees are down to two games over .500, and 8.5 games back in the AL East. They are probable sellers now.

•   There’s no good transition for this, but the information needs to be shared. The details are difficult to read, so heed the warning if you don’t think you are able. The allegations are shocking and horrific:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.