Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Orioles tonight in the first game of this three-game weekend series with Oakland. He is 1-1 with an ERA of 4.01 over his first four starts.
Arrieta has looked strong this year and fully recovered from having bone spurs removed from his right elbow last August.
He has said that procedure will benefit him in many ways and catcher Matt Wieters came up with one of those ways today that I had not heard mentioned before.
"I think it helps now that he can get all his work in," Wieters said of Arrieta. "There is no more, you know, just trying to make yourself be able to pitch every fifth day. He is able to get his side work in which is big for a young pitcher like him. You get a lot accomplished in those four days between starts."
Arrieta has said that with more range of motion in his right arm, he is now able to throw his curveball with more consistency and see its quality hold up deep into each start.
"I think they are more consistent," Wieters said of Arrieta's breaking pitches. "Plus he has a better idea where he needs to start them to throw them for a strike. He's always had a good break on it. When you are comfortable that your arm is going to be okay you can really let it go. If you have that good feel, you have a good chance."
Wieters is enjoying the recent roll that Orioles starting pitchers have been on. O's starters have allowed just two earned runs in 25 1/3 over the past four games for an ERA of 0.71.
The starters on the season have an ERA of 3.73 to rank tied for fifth among all American League starting rotations.
"It is great catching guys who know what they are doing and really want to improve," Wieters said. "With their command and being able to use all their pitches, it makes it a lot more fun for a catcher. I knew it was going to take some learning when some of these guys were coming up but you could tell this spring the guys had more of an idea what it would take to be successful at this level."
Arrieta may be anxious to get back on the mound tonight to erase the memory of the fifth inning last Saturday in Anaheim. He went to the mound with a 2-0 lead and a one-hitter.
But then he unraveled and allowed five singles and three walks, made an error and threw a wild pitch as Los Angeles rallied for the lead and Matt Lindstrom came in to relieve him with the bases loaded and one out.
Wieters feels Arrieta wants to show he is better than that tonight.
"I think so. Nobody wants to have a tough inning like he had. It will be good to get that out of the way," Wieters said. "If we give him a shot to win, he'll do his best to preserve the win."
Manager Buck Showalter expressed a similar sentiment about Arrieta's poor inning in Anaheim.
"Jake and I talked. We let it settle in for a day or two. I kind of dwell on the four innings he pitched before that too and so many good things he's done already this year. Jake has a lot of things under his belt now that should help him pitch consistently," Showalter said.