Jake Arrieta has accumulated 173 1/3 innings this year, including his Triple-A starts. His previous high was 150 2/3.
Did Arrieta make his final start tonight?
“Ask me tomorrow,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s possibly my last one, it’s possibly yours.
“He’s at 176-ish right now, and 180-ish is probably the limit you take him. He’s about 20-plus over, so that’s a real quality question. If he hears something about that, he’ll hear it from me first. Ask me tomorrow.”
Arrieta only walked one batter, but he threw 104 pitches in six innings.
“Makes you wonder why his pitch count is so high, but let’s face it, the ball comes out of a guy’s hand, you’re looking for something that appears as something that’s attractive to swing at,” Showalter said. “Randy Johnson was never...I’m not going there with Jake, but he’s never going to have a 90-pitch outing. (Hitters think) ‘I don’t like the way that looks. I don’t like the way that looks.’ You’re going to have some deep counts, you’re going to have some strikeouts. So, very seldom are you going to see him go out there and have an 80, 90...the better his stuff, the deeper the counts usually are.”
One of Showalter’s favorite expressions involves how players don’t get stronger this time of the year, but some of them don’t tire as much. His young starters aren’t visibly tired.
“They’re starting to feel it a little bit, start to sniff it a little bit,” Showalter said. “You can see them kind of look around and go, ‘You know what, I can do this.’ I also know there’s a fine line. There’s a fine line. I tell them, write some things down they’re feeling and seeing and remind yourself, because at 23 or 24, you’re bullet proof. You don’t know the reality of the major leagues.
“Hopefully, they’ll go home in the off-season and not only think about where they are right now, but where they were and learn from both of them. And come in and try to make the club next year.”
Asked what he’s liked most about his club during this impressive stretch, Showalter replied, “I think a lot of it feeds off pitching. They always say momentum’s the pitcher the next day, and I think that’s real true. Our pitchers have been attacking the strike zone a lot more. I look down at my sheet every night with the walk totals. I think (Chris) Tillman got real fortunate in Detroit with the number of walks that he had (six). I think aggressive, trust your stuff.
“There’s a certain presentation that young pitchers have to have to other teams. You can’t be iffy because they sniff that and they run through that in a hurry. They’re trying to smell, I don’t want to say fear, but anxiety. You have to trust your stuff. ‘Here it is.’
“I told all these young pitchers, don’t go home at the end of the day and go, ‘Gosh, I wish I had been a little more aggressive because I didn’t like that it ended up being that way.’ Let the pellets fly, man. See what happens. But don’t go home at the end of the day and scratch your head and say...there’s an expression for it I can’t use, but get after it. ‘Here it is. Here’s mine. Let’s see what you have.’”
Let the pellets fly, man. Another T-shirt slogan just waiting to happen.
Who’s on it?