We all know that Jake Arrieta has a lot of talent. He can throw a mid-90s fastball and a knee-buckling curveball. But he can’t get his ERA under 6.00 right now and he hasn’t pitched beyond five innings this year.
He clearly has consistent issues with his control and command. Here are some theories on why he is struggling so much:
* He thinks too much out there: This is a popular theory, that the issue is much more in his head than his arm. He overthinks things out there, some insist. He worries too much, he is trying to be too fine and perfect with his pitches, and he doesn’t need to be.
* He is carrying a burden around: The burden is that he has to constantly hear how good he is and how good his stuff is. I give some credence to this theory. While it is a good thing to know scouts and plenty of others in the industry think you have a lot of talent, that could now be an issue for Arrieta.
Does he think, “People keep saying how good I am, so why don’t I get better results?”
* He doesn’t trust his stuff: This goes along somewhat with theories about him trying to hit corners too much and throw perfect pitches.
So here is the current question: Will the Orioles give Arrieta another shot in the rotation or did he pitch his way out yesterday?
The answer to that involves many factors, in my opinion. First of all, if the team is playing well and it’s doing OK at 10-8, that factors in. Also, how are the other four starters doing? How are the Triple-A Norfolk pitchers faring and who would take his rotation spot?
Here are the stats for the current members of the Tides rotation:
* Jair Jurrjens is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts.
* Zach Britton is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three starts.
* Zach Clark is 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA in four starts.
* Freddy Garcia is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts.
* Josh Stinson is 1-0 with an 0.77 ERA in two starts.
Having pitched last night, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings, Jurrjens is lined up on the same day as Arrieta and has recorded three quality starts over four outings. Britton has allowed just two earned runs over 11 2/3 innings in his past two starts and has given up just one hit over 17 at-bats when pitching with runners in scoring position.
The Tides are off today and list Garcia as Tuesday’s starter. Steve Johnson is expected to start for Norfolk on Wednesday as part of an injury rehab assignment, meaning he would not likely be available to the Orioles until five days from then at the earliest. Meanwhile, the Orioles need a starter for Wednesday even before Arrieta’s turn comes up again.
We’ve seen it happen before where it looked like a pitcher had pitched his way off the club only to be given another chance. Will that happen this time with Arrieta?