Arrieta solid after shaking off rust
Jake Arrieta certainly did not have the best start to his Phillies career. He allowed three runs in the opening inning of Sunday’s game. He gave up a solo home run to Miguel Rojas before two runs scored on a Braxton Lee blooper into left field.
The runs can’t entirely be attributed to Arrieta. With one out and a runner on second, Justin Bour grounded a ball to the left side of second base. J.P. Crawford, who was on the right side of second base due to a defensive shift against Bour, fielded the ball but couldn’t record the force out at second. Andrew Knapp committed catcher’s interference the next batter, loading the bases for Lee. Arrieta’s numbers became skewed because of the players behind him
After the first, Arrieta got into a groove. He needed 31 pitches to get through the first but needed just 43 for the next three innings. He ended his start with 10 pitches in the fourth. Altogether, Arrieta threw 74 pitches in four innings, striking out five while walking two.
Arrieta logged just four innings because he, Gabe Kapler, and pitching coach Rick Kranitz established a pitch count heading into the game. After missing so much of spring training, the team wants to make sure Arrieta is fully stretched out. He said after the game he felt very comfortable with the situation: [quote via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com]
"“We had multiple conversations about the number [of pitches] and some of that was based on high-stress innings, low-stress innings and trying to find a good combination with those variables,” Arrieta said. “The first inning was really stressful, but I knew that after the third, I had an opportunity to get through four, maintain the score where it was and hand it over to the bullpen from there. “After the third, I knew I was working with about 10 pitches and I told Kap, ‘I’ll get through it in 10 pitches or less.'”"
Arrieta’s next start will come Saturday against the Rays. He says he expects to throw 85-90 pitches.