Jake Arrieta Inches Closer To Carl Hubbell With 20th Straight Win

by Rocco Constantino | Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
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Jake Arrieta didn’t have his best start for the Chicago Cubs on May 25, but that didn’t stop him from moving closer to an incredible record that has survived for nearly 80 years.  With the Cubs 9-8 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, Arrieta picked up his 20th straight win over two seasons, leaving him four wins short of Carl Hubbell‘s mark of 24.

Hubbell’s streak started with a 9-0 shutout over the Pittsburgh Pirates and lasted until he lost on May 31, 1937 when the Brooklyn Robins knocked him around to the tune of five runs and seven hits in 3.1 innings.  To put this record in perspective, the players playing in the games when it started and ended included Mel Ott and Paul Waner and the managers when the streak started were Bill Terry and Pie Traynor.

Arrieta became just the fifth pitcher in baseball history to win 20 straight games and just the second to do so in the past 50 years.  The other pitchers besides Arrieta and Hubbell to win 20 straight games include Rube Marquard (20 games between 1911-1912), Roy Face (22 games between 1958-1959) and Roger Clemens (20 games between 1998-1999).

Arrieta last lost on July 25, 2015 when he was on the losing end of Cole Hamels no-hitter.  His next start he had a no decision in a 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers and then he reeled off  11 wins in his final 12 starts of the season.  In the only game he failed to record a win during that stretch, he pitched eight innings and allowed just one earned run in a key Cubs win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It was one of just two no decisions Arrieta has recorded during this stretch.  By comparison, Hubbell had just one no decision during his streak but also appeared in relief in three games during that time too.

During Arrieta’s current streak, he has given up just 13 earned runs over 151.1 innings pitched.  Most of that was built over his final 12 starts of 2015 when he allowed just four earned runs over the final 88.1 innings of the season.

The streak only includes regular season games as Arrieta did lose his final postseason start in 2015 when he gave up four runs in five innings in a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets in Game 2 of the NLCS.

The soonest Arrieta could top Hubbell would be June 23 when the Cubs play at the Miami Marlins.  That would be if he wins all of his starts leading up to the game and no games would be rained out.

If Arrieta is able to win his next five decisions and pass Hubbell, it will be one of the truly remarkable feats in the game in recent years.  Anybody could put together record-breaking games or incredible hot streaks, but to be so dominant and so flawless over such a prolonged stretch of time is unheard of.

There is a reason Hubbell’s streak has survived for 80 years.  What we’re seeing with Arrieta is historic.  Fans should enjoy and appreciate each of his starts as he chases one of the true immortals of the game.

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Rocco Constantino
About the Author

Rocco is the author of 50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball (Available on Amazon now!) and former Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He is also a die hard Mets fan going back to the awful early 80's and ready for the revival. D2 NCAA softball coach and athletics administrator. Follow Rocco on Twitter @mlb100years.

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