Jake Arrieta lost Sunday, but his streak was really impressive

Jake Arrieta lost Sunday, but his streak was really impressive

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In the days between Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta’s past two regular-season losses, 481 pitchers lost a regular-season game wholesale jerseys.

Arrieta’s win streak ended at 20 straight decisions. Elias Sports Bureau research shows that only two pitchers have had longer win streaks: New York Giants Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (24 from 1936 to 1937) and Pirates reliever Roy Face (22 from 1958 to 1959).

Arrieta’s 9-0 start to the season is an undefeated mark topped only once in Cubs history, by Jim McCormick in 1886.

Since July 26, Arrieta is 20-1 with a 1.14 ERA. He has allowed 97 hits in 174 1/3 innings. His .160 opponents’ batting average and .431 opponents’ OPS are both the lowest in baseball in that span .

Arrieta’s 1.14 ERA is the best in the majors in that time. Clayton Kershaw ranks second (1.51). But it’s worth pointing out how much better Arrieta’s mark is than those of some pitchers who rank among the best in baseball. His ERA is more than a run better than Madison Bumgarner’s (2.26) and Stephen Strasburg’s (2.42), two runs better than Zack Greinke’s (3.14) and more than two runs better than Chris Sale’s (3.41).

How he didn’t win

You might have read in John Jackson’s game story that Arrieta allowed nine hits on the 10 balls put in play against him. That was pretty unlikely.

Entering the day, the Cubs’ defense had converted 77 percent of the balls put in play against Arrieta into outs, a rate that ranked second-best among pitchers, behind Marco Estrada’s. Estrada carried a no-hit bid through seven innings against the Red Sox, and his team’s season rate now stands at 79.4. The Cubs’ out rate for Arrieta (73.6 percent) now ranks 17th.

One thing to keep an eye on

Recently, Arrieta’s slider has not been the super-invincible pitch it usually is, even though he has thrown it harder. He got two strikeouts with it Sunday but also allowed two hits.

Arrieta gave up one hit and got 35 outs on the 144 sliders (average speed: 88.6 mph) he threw in his first six starts of the season. Since then, he has allowed 12 hits and gotten 19 outs on the 111 he has thrown in his past six starts (average speed: 89.7 mph).

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