Arrieta gets 2011 off to promising start with four quality starts

Jake Arrieta can't erase his start on April 9 against Texas from his record, but if he could, his ERA would be 2.63 over his other four starts versus Detroit, New York., Minnesota and New York.

Arrieta has produced four quality starts in those four outings, giving up just seven earned runs and 20 hits over 24 innings. He feels he has gotten his 2011 season off to a good start.

"I just think that every step of the way throughout my career I've been able to make adjustments and find a way to have consistent success at every level," he said. "This level is no different. It's probably going to take a little longer to find the type of consistency and quality out of my outings that I would be looking for.

"When you are playing at the highest level, that's just how it is. You are going to face guys that are, just as talented, if not more talented than you physically. Just got to find ways to get over those hurdles. Whether it's mentally, physically or whatever it is."

Arrieta went 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA over 18 starts last summer after being called up from Triple-A on June 10 and pitching against and beating the Yankees that night. He pitched to an ERA of 3.78 over his final eight starts last year and 2.60 over his last three that provided him confidence coming into this year.

"Lot of confidence," he said. "Even poor starts, or starts that weren't as quality as others, I was still able to decipher the good from the bad and use that moving forward. That's a big part of the process. My start (this year) against Texas was probably the best stuff I had all year, but when I needed a big pitch I didn't make it. At this level when that happens, you are going to get beat. But you can't beat yourself up, you have to keep going and moving forward."

Arrieta was told that some fans put some of the blame for his poor start versus the Rangers on catcher Jake Fox. Arrieta said that was not the case.

"I would never blame the catcher for that. Ultimately it's me the one that is out there throwing the pitches. Whether we are on the same page out there the whole outing, it's tough to say. I was confident in everything I threw as well as he was. Just one of those nights. We are not very familiar with each other but we'll continue to work and get more comfortable together."

Sunday against the Yankees, Arrieta gave up a two-run homer to Curtis Granderson,who was batting second and then walked the next two hitters. He rebounded from that to allow just one run with a career-high nine strikeouts over six innings. Could he have pulled off a turnaround like that last year as a rookie?

"I don't want to say I wouldn't have been able to do it, I just think I elevated my game to another level this year, where I really am able to bear down in those situations and make quality pitches. And like in the fifth inning with A-Rod, first and third, got him to ground out to short. Tough play for the infielders but I got the exact result that I am looking for. So, yeah, I am able to do a lot better job of that this year," Arrieta, who is 2-1 with an ERA of 4.94, said.

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