For his second act, Jake Arrieta will switch leagues and coasts and still try to win.
After beating the Yankees last week, maybe the Giants won’t look too tough when Arrieta takes the mound tonight.
He says he is settling in with the team nicely at this point.
“The first day I was kind of high strung a bit, lot of nerves, lot of tension. I didn’t really know what to expect but everything went well. Adrenaline was through the roof. But now I feel a lot more relaxed, kind of laid back. I feel like more myself now and feel real confident going into my next start.
“I learned a lot (vs. the Yankees). Some big things that stood out are that my stuff really plays at this level. It’s good enough to pitch well and win here. That’s a confidence booster, knowing I can go out and trust my stuff and know it’s good enough to get the team a win. That’s probably the biggest thing I can take out of my first start.
“This year I just really became a better pitcher. Commanding my pitches a little bit better. Attacking the strike zone more. Keeping the ball down in the zone. Minimizing my mistakes. Those things all come with time and experience. I feel like I’ve put it all together this season thus far.”
Arrieta gave up four hits and three runs over six innings last Thursday vs. the Yankees in his Major League debut.
The 24-year-old right-hander has worked with Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin the past two years and credits Griffin for a lot of his improvement.
“We have a great relationship and he was a tremendous help to me. In pretty much every aspect of pitching.
“From things like speeding up my tempo to keeping my emotions in check and not letting them show too much on the field. I can be a very competitive and emotional guy out there, but kind of pulled the reigns back when I need to.
“He’s been great with that. Plus commanding the baseball, the fastball especially on my sides (side sessions) and between starts, he’s a huge help. I have to attribute a lot of my success to him.”
The Orioles sent Arrieta out vs. the defending world champs on his first day in the bigs, feeling he had the confidence to handle it. Arrieta said confidence is a big part of his game and his success.
“It’s gotta be. I’m very confident that when I go out there I have the feeling that I can beat each and every team I’m up against.
“If you don’t have that mindset, you’re already behind the eight ball. You have to have confidence. I wouldn’t call it cockiness, but I’m very confident that I have the ability to win no matter who I am facing.
“As a kid, anything I did, whether it’s sport-related or not, I wanted to win. If I’m playing a video game or something with my wife, I want to beat her and I get upset when she beats me. She knows I’m competitive, my friends too. I’ve always had that competitive nature and it really helps on the field.”
When he takes the mound tonight he knows the Giants now have at least one Major League game tape to scout him with.
“You can’t change just because they have a tape. Teams in the minor leagues have scouting reports, too. You have to use the stuff that gets hitters out, regardless whether they know you like to throw a certain way.
“If you command your pitches and keep the ball down, they will get themselves out. That’s what I have to do, stick with what is working and command the ball.”