There are plenty of people rooting for Jake Arrieta to perform better consistently at the big league level, including those who have worked the most and closest with him.
Like Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair. What does he want Arrieta to accomplish when he joins Triple-A Norfolk after being optioned to the minors today?
“I don’t think there is any one thing,” Adair said this afternoon. “Just get to the point where he can get out there like he did in the third yesterday and do damage control (when in trouble). It’s a little bit of a mindset with him. I think you guys have seen there is progress being made and his stuff, when it’s right, is as good as there is. He just needs to go pitch and get to where he can go six or seven innings and do this.”
The Orioles have seen Arrieta battle his emotions when pitching, leading to issues with his mechanics, which leads to his struggles.
“He does come out of his delivery at times when he gets emotional and he wants to shut an inning down. He realizes that,” Adair said. “We’ve talked a lot about it and he still hasn’t got past the point where his emotions change his delivery. You can say it’s emotional or it’s mechanical and you’d be right on both counts.
“There are a lot of arrows pointing up for Jake and people have heard that and maybe get tired of hearing it.”
No one questions Arrieta’s work ethic, talent or, as Buck Showalter would call it, his “want to.” But wanting so badly to help this club is getting in the way sometimes, Adair said.
“That is part of the issue - the want, as opposed to just staying in the present,” Adair said. “He wants to be a part of a championship club. I know it killed him last year in the playoffs when he wasn’t on the roster. There is a lot of want to and a lot of desire there.”
Is Adair convinced that Arrieta will be back in the majors soon?
“He’s proved that he should be here several times. He’s proved that he shouldn’t be here several times,” he said. “I don’t think there is any one answer to that. Time will tell.”