For the first time since July 25, 2015, the Chicago Cubs put ace Jake Arrieta on the mound and ended up with the loss. This is an astonishing streak of 23 consecutive victories by the Cubbies, with Arrieta getting a no-decision in just two of these starts. That is an insane number of starts—nearly an entire calendar year. Let’s put this streak of unmitigated dominance in perspective:
- The last time the Cubs lost with Arrieta on the mound, it took a no-hitter by then-Phillies ace Cole Hamels. In the four starts prior to that game, Arrieta was 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and 30/5 K/BB ratio.
- He carried a 1.05 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP over his 23 starts.
- Since the last Arrieta loss, he has thrown two no-hitters, on August 30, 2015 at the Dodgers and April 21, 2016 at the Reds. Only five total were thrown in that span.
- Including the Hamels loss and the loss last night, Arrieta’s 20-2 record with 20 quality starts has never happened over the course of one season.
- Over the course of Arrieta’s stretch of success, he had thirteen scoreless games, and allowed only nineteen runs. He allowed more than three runs once and never pitched fewer than five innings.
- During his 23-game stretch of dominance, Arrieta lowered his career ERA from 4.12 to 3.54 and his career WHIP from 1.25 WHIP to 1.16. All of this was done over 140 starts into his career.
As baseball fans, we all know how dominant Arrieta’s stretch has been, but what if you need to relate it to a non-baseball fan? Let’s put it in perspective.
- Jake Arrieta’s dominance was 312 days. For 312 days the Cubs went home with a victory when Arrieta took the ball. That is:
- Exactly 4-1/3 Kardashian-Humphries marriages
- 1.28 trips around the sun for Earth’s neighbor, Venus
- Only 126 fewer days than it took for Peter Jackson to film the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and 46 days longer than it took to film the Hobbit Trilogy)
- The time it took Disney to release four Marvel films (Fantastic Four, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse)
- 32 days longer than an average pregnancy
- Three months longer than California was an independent country.
- The last time Jake Arrieta lost:
- OMI’s “Cheerleader” had knocked Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” off Billboard’s Top 100
- Ant-Man was wrapping up its second-consecutive week as the top box-office draw
- AMC’s hit Mad Men had been wrapped up for just over two months
- The U.S.A. was still cheering for the Women’s World Cup team defeating Japan in the finals, just 20 days prior
- The NFL world was still learning details of Jason Pierre-Paul’s catastrophic fireworks accident
Arrieta’s run of utter dominance was snapped, but he is still a top-five pitcher in baseball. On the season, he is still one of the top pitchers—and players—in the league (though playing second fiddle to Clayton Kershaw is nothing to sneeze at). Arrieta is top three in WAR, ERA (tied, first), WHIP, shutouts (tied). The Cubs lost an Arrieta start, but I’m sure they’ll more than take one loss every 23 Arrieta starts. He seeks retribution Sunday versus Arizona.