Right-hander Jake Arrieta is slumping.
So are his Chicago Cubs.
On Saturday afternoon, the Cubs — who have lost four of their past five games — will play host to the Miami Marlins. That slump includes Miami’s 10-2 win in Friday’s opener of this weekend series.
The slump for Arrieta (5-7, 5.14 ERA) is clear. He is 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA in his past four starts.
However, Arrieta is 8-1 with a 3.64 ERA in 12 career starts against the Marlins. He is also stellar at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, posting a 32-17 record with a 2.35 ERA.
Arrieta is no longer the dominant pitcher he was when he won the NL’s Cy Young Award in 2015. But, even so, his home ERA this year (3.16) is still significantly better than his road mark (6.51).
“Jake is really comfortable in a Cubs uniform,” Chicago manager David Ross said after Arrieta returned to the team in February after a three-year run with the Philadelphia Phillies. “I think Jake feels like he has something to prove.”
Arrieta, 35, has not succeeded in proving he is back to his form he showed from 2014 to 2017, when he went a combined 64-29. Since then, he has gone 27-30 with ERAs of 3.96, 4.64, 5.08 and 5.14 so far this year.
On Saturday, the Cubs hope to get more offense than just Joc Pederson, who homered twice on Friday. Pederson has slugged seven homers this month.
The Marlins, meanwhile, snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday by hitting three homers, including two by Adam Duvall and a three-run shot from Jon Berti.
Duvall, who went 3-for-4 with six RBIs, three runs scored and one walk, hit three homers in a game twice during an eight-game span last year while playing for the Atlanta Braves.
“With (Duvall), it’s either hot or he cools off for a period,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But he’s dangerous when he’s hot.”
The Marlins on Saturday will start right-hander Pablo Lopez (2-4, 3.12 ERA), who is coming off his shortest outing of the season. On June 13, he allowed four runs in three innings against the Atlanta Braves.
Lopez, 25, is on pace to have the lowest ERA of his four-year major league career. Yet, despite his solid pitching, he has just two wins, and the Marlins are only 6-8 when he starts this year.
Against the Cubs, Lopez has made just one career appearance, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He has never pitched at Wrigley Field, where he is set to start on Saturday.
Lopez is surely happy to have team leader Miguel Rojas back at shortstop. Rojas went 0-for-5 on Friday, when he made his first appearance since suffering a finger injury on May 27.
“Getting Miggy back is huge,” Mattingly said. “He solidifies shortstop. He makes all the plays. He seems to always be in the right spot.”
Mattingly, whose team is in last place in the National League East while sitting nine games under .500, is eager for a winning streak.
“We have to get going,” Mattingly said. “I know there is a lot of baseball left. But at some point, we have to put together games for a long period of time, and we’re capable.”
–Field Level Media