Cubs’ Jake Arrieta’s strong return continues rotation turnaround

At the time of his last start, Jake Arrieta was the most consistent starter in a struggling Cubs rotation.

When he returned from the 10-day injured list Friday, he continued his strong start to the season — this time in a rotation that has turned things around in a big way in May.

“Jake did a great job,” manager David Ross said postgame.

Arrieta (cut on right thumb) came off the IL on Friday and tossed six strong innings in the Cubs’ 4-2 win over Detroit. The right-hander allowed just four hits — two singles and a pair of solo home runs — before exiting.

It’s no secret the Cubs rotation struggled in April. They had the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.81) and averaged 4.71 innings per outing. Only the Pirates averaged fewer among NL clubs.

Arrieta was rock solid for most of the month, tallying a 2.57 ERA through five outings, including three quality starts. But the cut on his thumb affected him in his last start, April 30 against Cincinnati, later landing him on the injured list.

Now past the ailment, he looked like the guy he was for much of April.

“The thumb really wasn’t an issue,” Arrieta said after Friday’s outing. “I was a little stale, though. I threw a lot of good sinkers and induced quite a bit of weak contact. They were they were swinging early and often, which is a good sign.”

Ross noted he…

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