When Jake Arrieta was asked if too much has been made of his recent struggles, he didn't even need words to convey his thoughts.
Arrieta simply nodded his head and continued to nod until a reporter followed up with another question.
"Listen, last year, the run I went on was great," Arrieta said. "Wouldn't everybody like to pitch that way all the time? Yes. But if you're being realistic, regardless of how good you are, how well you pitched in the past, you're gonna have times where you go out there and you just aren't your best.
"The guys on the other side are good, too. You're gonna get beat. You're gonna give up runs from time to time. It just so happened to come in a three-start stretch where I gave up four, five and six runs. So it didn't look great. I wasn't happy with it.
"The results are what they are. But from my perspective, I want to continue to do what I have been doing in between starts and iron out some things. Find the rhythm, find the timing and transition that into the game."
Arrieta has been a daily topic of conversation on Chicago sports talk radio over the last few weeks between his struggles and lack of appearance in the All-Star Game despite he and the Cubs maintaining he was available if National League manager Terry Collins needed to call upon Arrieta.
When asked if he might be overthinking his struggles, Arrieta immediately dismissed the notion.
"Well, the only time you hear anything is from the media. No offense to you guys," Arrieta said. "But yeah, would I have liked to be better in certain situations in certain games? Yes, of course. But, you know, still pitching pretty well."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon admited he didn't know what it meant to say the media was "making too much" out of Arrieta's recent struggles.
"You guys have been reporting on how he's pitching. That's just the way it is," Maddon said. "I don't know that too much has been made of it. I think from his perspective, he'd like to just get back to where he had been.
"I think that this rest will benefit him. You look at his numbers — they're still pretty darn good. His record's really good. I've been saying this for a little bit — I know there's another level of Jake to this season. We're looking for that to occur.
"But I don't know that too much has been made of it or not too much. It's just the way it is. It's just what's going on right now."
Maddon and Cubs are giving their ace some extra rest with the break thrown in, as Arrieta is lined up to pitch in the Cubs' fifth game of the second half — Tuesday night against the New York Mets.
His last time out against the Mets over the July 4 weekend, Arrieta lasted just 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a pair of walks.
He attributed some of that to bad luck, but there's no arguing Arrieta's results lately overall.
In his last three starts, the reigning NL Cy Young winner has given up 15 earned runs in 16.1 innings, allowing opposing batters to hit .304 with an .898 OPS during that span.
In seven starts since the beginning of June, Arrieta is just 3-4 with a 4.81 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.
He already has almost as many walks (43) as he did all of last season (48) in 114.2 fewer innings.
Of course, Arrieta is still 12-4 on the season with a sparkling 2.68 ERA.
"When I'm walking guys, it's overly frustrating because they have a hard time doing a lot of damage if I'm just putting the ball in the strike zone," explained Arrieta, who also said he felt crisp in his last outing before the break against the Pirates when he allowed six runs in six innings but walked only one batter.
"It's just trying to find the balance, being in the zone early, trying to expand late. But the two sides I've thrown — throwing yesterday and throwing a couple days ago — and the workout we had before we got back here, I really like where I'm at.
"Things have really started to kinda come around for me timing-wise and that's really the struggle for me recently, was finding that timing and I think I'm right where I need to be."
Arrieta said not picking up a baseball for four days was "exactly what I needed" and also proclaimed his most recent bullpen the best he's thrown all year.
"Just kinda mentally putting things down and coming back to it a few days later is sometimes the best medicine," he said. "And not that there's any reason to panic. Being able to have that down time and experiencing the All-Star week like I was able to with my friends and family was a great experience."