Ah, Jake Arrieta.
If you bring up his name to a lot of Orioles fans, it often does not conjure up good thoughts at all.
Sunday’s game was a case exhibit for that opinion.
I saw the self-destruction of Arrieta live and in person at the Yard; however, before the game against the Dodgers, I and several season ticket holders in my respective section pondered how many innings Arrieta would toss.
Furthermore, we all wondered when he would finally implode.
“He’s going to last six innings”, said one person.
“I say five, plus”, harked another.
Although I consider myself an optimistic person, but I quipped, “Four and two-thirds.”
For the first three frames on the mound, Arrieta looked as good as ever, and the Baltimore offense was rolling.
With a comfortable cushion at the time, he breezed through a Los Angeles lineup has that been struggling and endured a long losing skid; however, starting in the fourth inning, the implosion happened.
Walk after walk, followed up by a hit, then more walks, wiped away a 4-1 Baltimore lead which led to a 7-4 loss.
The loss prevented a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.
During the fourth and fifth innings, we all shook our heads and looked up wondering, “Will he ever get it out there on the mound?”
“Does he trust his stuff? Or no? Why he is nibbling? He’s got the stuff – just throw STRIKES!”
“Dude, he is Daniel Cabrera – part two?”
“Is his problem from the neck and up?”
Of course, it’s easy as fans to give our commentary and nitpick everything that’s wrong with him.
We all get angry and wonder why a guy who can throw in the mid-90’s can’t seem to be consistent on the mound at all?
It’s painful to watch as a fan and hard to see, however…
I’m sure it’s a hundred times harder on him.
Someone in the group harked after Arrieta shuffled back to the dugout, “why doesn’t he just go back to Triple-A?”
Arrieta has been back in the minors numerous times over the years, and each time he goes down – he dominates.
The Orioles bring him back up from the minors and he looks like a new guy on the mound; however, he returns to the same old pitcher we have seen again – and again.
Now the question again is …. What do you do with him?
Do the Orioles let him work out his problems? Send him to Triple-A for the umpteenth time, or on his way out of the organization?
I think the latter two options may placate most of the fanbase; however, I think the team should let him work out his issues right now in the big leagues.
I don’t know what good sending him back to the minors would do right now. Maybe the Orioles can let him work in the bullpen in low pressure situations, or in long relief.
That’s not a call for us fans, but Buck Showalter and the front office.
Arrieta has the stuff and pedigree to succeed; however, he will never take the next step forward if his consistency issues can’t be worked out.