Phillies: Five things we learned from the month of May

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Yasmani Grandal of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands at the plate while Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies scores a run in the seventh inning as Jesmuel Valentin #9 signals to stand at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Yasmani Grandal of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands at the plate while Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies scores a run in the seventh inning as Jesmuel Valentin #9 signals to stand at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Jake Arrieta’s still got it

Coming into this season, there were serious concerns that Jake Arrieta was on the decline. His numbers and fastball velocity both dipped considerably last year, leading to worries his age was starting to impact the former Cy Young winner.

Two months into the season, Jake Arrieta is proving those concerned about him wrong. He was simply dominant in May, posting the lowest ERA (0.90) of all National League pitchers. Justin Verlander was the only other pitcher with a lower ERA in May. Arrieta didn’t allow a run in three of his five starts last month. He ranked 10th among all NL pitchers in wins above replacement in May.

Arrieta hasn’t struck out many batters, but that isn’t his goal anymore. Instead, he is more worried about avoiding hard contact and keeping the ball in the park. His ground-ball and home-run rates are both career-bests. Arrieta leads all pitchers in fewest home runs per nine innings (0.309), allowing just two all season.

Arrieta has found a way to keep up his success with the Phillies, even if he has had to adjust his approach on the mound. He had plenty of success in May and should continue it the rest of the season.

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