Jake Arrieta’s here in Baltimore and, as I wrote earlier, will make his Major League debut tomorrow.
I spoke with him briefly tonight, and you get the sense that he almost relishes starting against the Yankees. Arrieta’s confidence is something the organization likes, and I think it’s almost necessary for survival as a young pitcher in the AL East.
Brian Matusz carries the same sort of inner confidence. He’s a guy that says he trusts his stuff and you actually believe him. If the Orioles are going to start to turn the corner tomorrow, next week, or next year, they are going to need young guys like this- pitchers who would rather face the Red Sox and the Yankees than the Indians or the Royals.
Arrieta was well aware of who his opponent would be when he got the news in Norfolk Tuesday night.
“It’s a lot bigger names in the box score, but it’s the same game,” he said. “Whether it’s A-Rod or some hitter from [Yankees Triple-A] Scranton, I have to approach [Thursday] like any other start.”
He said he wasn’t nervous yet, because everything had been such a whirlwind. But when he steps out on the mound at Camden Yards to face Derek Jeter, Arrieta acknowledged he’d have some butterflies. It’s only normal. Heck, even superhuman Stephen Strasburg admitted he was nervous for his debut.
Chris Tillman had a solid outing tonight. Arrieta has a chance to build on that and give the Orioles their first win against the Yankees since April 27. They’ve lost 10 in a row to New York since then.
Although that’s hardly the most sobering stat of the day, which is this: The Orioles had a lead for five innings on Wednesday night, marking the longest stretch they’ve had a lead since May 25 against Oakland.
It’s so unbelievable my old New York media buds had to ask me to confirm. Here’s hoping the O’s take care of that stat tomorrow.