Arrieta, Cubs Foiled by Mets, Ageless Colon

It’s like the New York Mets (43-37) just have the mental edge over the Chicago Cubs (51-29) and I can’t tell you when that will change. Last night seemed as good a time as any, with Jake Arrieta (12-3, 2.33 ERA) taking the mound for the Cubs you always feel like they have the advantage.

With Jake pitching in the bottom of the first inning, the Cubs immediately lost that advantage. The first Mets’ batter absorbed seven pitches before walking. The next batter, Neil Walker, took seven pitches as well. Unfortunately, that seventh pitch was launched over the right field wall. Jake would wind up throwing 35 pitches in the first inning. Advantage evaporated.

Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon was pitching like he’s 25 again. He was cruising along until the fourth inning. After a Kris Bryant lead-off walk, Anthony Rizzo came up and took advantage of ball Colon left over the plate, pounding a game-tying, two-run home run over the center field wall. It was almost a relief to see a tie game. That didn’t last long.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, after surrendering a single and a walk, Jake gave up a well-placed bloop hit that careened off the outstretched hand of Javier Baez. That hit scored runners from first and second base, giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

Ben Zobrist made it interesting with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning, but the Cubs couldn’t mount any other type of threat against a Mets’ pitching staff that has mostly confounded Cubs hitters over the past seven games these two teams have played against each other. Cubs drop their third in a row against the Mets by the score of 4-2 (Box Score).

Stats that mattered

  • Jake was not Jake – 5.1IP, 4R, 8H, 2BB, 4Ks, 1HR
  • Anthony Rizzo had the most productive night offensively for the Cubs. He was the only Cubs player to get more than one hit – 2-for-4, 1R, 2RBIs
  • Bartolo Colon out-pitched Jake – 6IP, 2R, 4H, 3BB, 5Ks, 1HR

Bottom line

Jake is having control issues and last night only served to highlight that fact. His last time out he mentioned he knew what the issue was and it only required a small, simple tweak. For the record, I hate small simple tweaks. I actually prefer the “just go back to how you were doing it before with no tweaks” approach. Easier said then done.

The Cubs are currently in the midst of playing 24 consecutive games leading up to the all-star break. It’s a brutal stretch for any team to endure. So far, the Cubs are 7-9 since starting the stretch of consecutive games. With one more game against the Mets on Sunday, a three-game series against the Reds and Pirates, and a make-up game against the Braves sandwiched in between, the Cubs still have a chance to come out of this stretch playing over .500 ball. At this point, that would be a good accomplishment and one that is still well within reach.

Next up

The Cubs close out the four game series on Sunday against the Mets, hoping to scratch out at least one win. Game time is 12:10 PM CDT, with the Cubs newly crowned ace, Jon Lester (9-3, 2.03 ERA) taking the hill.

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