Jake Arrieta makes his 16th start tonight, and his first against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He’s only faced one Pirate in his career - and yes, that sounds a little strange. First baseman Lyle Overbay is 0-for-3 against him.
Arrieta leads the Orioles with 11 quality starts by definition. And I use “by definition” to avoid any debates over just how good he threw in some of those games. We’re talking three earned runs or fewer over six innings or more.
Four of his six outings on the road have resulted in quality starts.
A victory tonight would be Arrieta’s ninth this season, tying him for the American League lead.
His run support has been generous. He’s sporting an ERA of 4.45 that’s a tad above the league average of 3.84 for starters. But the quality starts indicate that he’s keeping the Orioles in games and not taxing the bullpen as much as a few other young starters have done this season.
Arrieta is the first to concede that he still needs to work on throwing strikes, finishing off hitters more quickly, increasing his tempo and keeping his pitch count down. He’s walked 40 and struck out 69 in 83 innings.
The Orioles are 9-6 in Arrieta’s starts this year, including 3-3 away from Camden Yards.
Opponents are batting .216 against Arrieta with runners in scoring position, and .118 with RISP and two outs. Left-handers are hitting .220 against him. Right-handers are hitting .255.