Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta is hoping that he has begun to turn around his season. For a seven-start stretch starting May 8, Arrieta pitched to an ERA of 9.64.
But over his past two starts, Arrieta has allowed five earned runs over 14 innings for an ERA of 3.21.
Arrieta said he made some changes and adjustments and that he believes he has seen the positive results over his past two outings. Today he'll pitch against the Nats in the third and deciding game of this weekend series.
"Just simplified some things," Arrieta said yesterday in the Orioles clubhouse. "Went back to a couple of things I was doing early in the year with mechanics. I was just trying to make too many adjustments. Me and (pitching coach) Rick (Adair) were diligently working on and changing a few things between starts and we possibly went too far. You don't want to be thinking about mechanics out there and that was all I was thinking about."
Arrieta believes that one significant change made recently was one that involved his feet and not his arm or pitching mechanics. He moved back to the first base side of the pitching rubber before he begins his windup.
"For a short period of time, we went to the right side of the rubber. Rick actually had good reasons for wanting to make those changes. But I just think with my delivery and the way I throw, the first base side works better for me," Arrieta said.
"I throw a little bit across my body and for me, throwing from the first base side allows me to end up with my stride pretty much in the middle of the plate and from there I can make slight adjustments from side to side."
I asked Arrieta if the change of going back to the first base side was one that made his pitches better or if it was just a change that made him more comfortable overall.
"It was both," he said. "Made the pitches more effective because I could command them better. And the comfort level was much greater, much better. You need to find a delivery that you can repeat on every pitch."
Arrieta is 3-9 over 15 starts with an ERA of 5.83 and, in eight home starts this year, he is 2-5 with a 6.85 ERA. But he pitched very well in a no-decision against the Nats on May 18, giving up just one earned run over seven innings.
The adjustment he made with his feet on the pitching rubber has him feeling more confident and pitching with improved command, and he hopes to continue to see positive results today as he tries to pitch the Orioles to a series win over the Nationals.