The moment Oriole fans have been waiting for since the beginning of the 2010 season. The debut of RHP prospect Jake Arrieta. The miserable 16-43 start to this season is on track to break the record for the worst record in one season by a Major League team. The Baltimore Orioles are not about to let that happen. Jake Arrieta most likely would not have been called up until September if it were not for the dissapointing start, and the inconsistent outtings by Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez. The ball club figures that they can’t be any worse than they already are, so taking a chance on Arrieta at this point isn’t that crazy. After all, his numbers in the minors were outstanding.
In 11 starts this season, Arrieta had a 1.85 ERA. His walk ratio has been a cause for concern throughout his career, but he has only given up six BB in his last 24 innings. In171 AAA innings his total ERA is 3.01. This debut is very deserving, and what a better time than against the New York Yankees.
Arrieta has rapidly progressed since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2007 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. After seeing former AAA teammate Chris Tillman get the nod for the big leagues, Arrieta has battled to get a spot in the starting rotation. He certainly has shown what he can do as through 6 IP Arrieta gave up only 4 hits, 3ER, 4BB and 6K’s against a team with the highest team batting average in MLB. Arrieta threw 61 of his 106 pitches for strikes, and he outdeuled pitching oppenent A.J. Burnett through six innings of work as he left the game with a 4-3 lead going into the 7th.
Arrieta has four different pitches. His fastball was his favorite pitch throughout tonight’s game. While he only struck out two batters on fastball pitches, he moved his fastball around the zone, confusing Yankee hitters. He topped the fastball at 96 mph, and naturally his velocity slowed down throughout the game, only reaching 92 mph in the sixth. His second pitch, his slider, proved to be the key to his success as he struck out Marcus Thames twice on a slider, and once in a bases loaded jam in the 6th inning. He has great command on his slider as hitters aren’t afriad to reach too much out of the zone, but just enough to keep them off balance. His 3rd pitch is the changeup, which changes speeds throughout the 80s, but mainly reaching about 88 mph. Arrieta tends to throw the curveball, but it is not his strongest pitch.
Arrieta built his confidence by getting ahead of pitchers, and then he wasn’t afraid to go after them for the strikeout. He kept his composure despite giving up three doubles and a triple in his six innings. After four innings, he relaxed and settled in. Frank Mata and Will Ohman came in the 7th and 8th innings, blanking the Yankees, and former starter David Hernandez closed the game in the 9th to give rookie Jake Arrieta his first win on his MLB debut. Did I mention he faced the Yankees? I think his confidence is sky high after facing the Yankees. Who knows what he could do against other ball clubs. Congrats, my friend.