Jake Arrieta allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in four of his six innings today, running up his pitch count and lowering his chances of winning.
"When you're pitching with a guy on and no outs to start off an inning, you put yourself in a tight situation," he said after a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. "To start the game, my sinker was running all over the place. Had great life today, felt really good. Breaking balls were really spotty. Wasn't able to command them very well. Started them too far off the outside of the plate, rather than trying to throw them either at the hitter or on the inside corner. Allow them to break toward the outside part of the zone. I ran a lot of deep counts and they put some great swings on the ball."
As is the case with a lot of younger pitchers, Arrieta is battling to become more consistent.
"Well, I mean, I'm not too frustrated by it," he said. "I'm still figuring some things out, learning my body now, especially with my arm and my elbow. It's just a little frustrating to go out there and have that type of stuff and just not being able to command it early on in the game. Pitch count got up, but we were still in a good position. I was still able to get in the sixth and had a shot to even come out for the seventh if I'm able to finish (Daniel) Nava off there rather than start with an 0-2 count. And then throwing a slider, caught too much of the plate in and he dropped the head on it like a lot of left-handed hitters will do.
"A couple pitches away there from turning that into a really good outing."
Is he having issues working out of the windup?
Not necessarily," he replied. "I think I just elevated a couple pitches, especially to the leadoff hitter, and they were able to put good enough swings on it to get on first base and kind of get the inning started for their guys. Just wasn't finishing my pitches down in the zone, especially on my heater. The run and the movement on the ball was great, just didn't do a good enough job of getting it down and keeping the leadoff guy off base."
Nick Johnson could feel good about his day after homering twice for the first time since May 28, 2006 against the Dodgers.
"I felt all right," he said. "Got to keep working and get pitches to hit and try not to miss them.
"I made some adjustments at the plate. Feeling better in my legs. And trying to find strikes.
"It's a feel thing for me, but keep working on the cage and take it on the field.
"I feel good. I can prepare and work. I haven't been healthy in a while, so it feels good to go out there and not worry about the wrists."