Showalter on Arrieta: ‘It’s time to win those type of games’

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was clearly disappointed in right-hander Jake Arrieta’s outing Saturday night, a fact evidence by his post-game quotes in Baltimore’s 6-3 loss. The thing that strikes me the most about what Showalter said was that in last night’s game he praised Brian Matusz for making progress after going five innings and seemed much less willing to publicly criticize.

Meanwhile, Arrieta — who was dominant through four innings and than fell apart — seems to be held to a higher standard, with Showalter making it clear there was “no way” Arrieta shouldn’t have made it through five innings.

“He’s not a young pitcher anymore, alright?,”  Showalter said of the 26-year-old Arrieta, who was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter and had quality starts in two of his first three games heading into Saturday.  “It’s time to win those type of games. We shouldn’t have that type of problems we had. We need a shutdown inning there [in the fifth] and let’s go.  He’s had enough experience to get through that. And he will.”

Working with a two-run lead courtesy of Matt Wieters’ homer in the top of the inning, Arrieta took the mound to start the fifth inning with just 51 pitches thrown and just one baserunner allowed. He had allowed a leadoff single to Erick Aybar –committing a throwing error on a pickoff play — but retired the next 12 straight before Torii Hunter’s single to open the fifth.

The inning went downhill in a hurry. Hunter advanced to second on Arrieta’s second error  — both attempted pickoff throws — and took third on a wild pitch, scoring on Mark Trumbo’s RBI single. Arrieta walked two of the next three batters, and the Angels put together a five-run frame on five singles and three walks before the second out was recorded.

“I hate to think that was it,” Showalter said when asked about the possibility of Arrieta’s second error causing the wheels to fall off. “I know you guys [in the media] are looking for something that pushed the button. But I don’t know if that’s it. I’m more interested in the mentality of a shutdown inning after your team scores two runs off one of the best pitchers in the American League [in Angels ace Jered Weaver]. You got to pitch that next inning like the seventh game of the World Series.”

“It’s very frustrating,” Showalter said of the 35-pitch inning in which Arietta lasted just one out. “I know for him…there’s no way he should be out of that game in the fifth inning the stuff he was carrying. It’s something where we know he’s better than that.

His command got away from him there. Wasn’t getting the ball where he was supposed to, he had a good, liberal strike zone tonight that guys like Weaver take advantage of. Hopefully Jake will learn a lesson from it.”

To his credit, Arrieta took full responsibility for the outing, calling his second error a “very, very tough mental mistake” and the whole game frustrating. It’s no secret that Arrieta is one of the most competitive guys on the team and Saturday’s performance was a letdown to him, to Showalter, and the rest of the Orioles.

“It’s just frustrating that when we put up two runs in the fifth and I am not able to have a shutdown inning and extend my outing even further,” Arrieta said.  “It’s frustrating. Not really [only] for myself, but for the team. We get two runs off a guy like Weaver we need to do what we can to win the game.

That’s what was pretty shocking about the whole fifth inning. I felt like I was in complete control there. Torii [Hunter] hit a good slider down in the zone for a base hit to start the inning and it kind of got out of hand from there. So it’s something that won’t happen a lot, I’ll assure you that. I just need to do a little bit better job of commanding the ball especially when I am behind in the count.”

3 Comments

One bad inning is not justification to go all negative on Jake. He has been doing very good so far and will most likely be our top pitcher. We are competing even though the defense and starting pitching has not been that good lately. Buck will resolve the issue with Dan if needed. Let’s give them a chance to play some more and improve. If not, changes will be made. Just look at this years roster to last years. Dan wants to win now. Me too. Go O’s.

I guess the extra 11 months of life Arrieta has on Matusz makes him no longer a young pitcher. Matusz also has about 10 more career starts.

But….Arrieta seems like the type who responds to tough love. Matusz just throws hissy fits and blames the coaches when he struggles.

Buck could have limited the damage by removing Jake earlier than he did and, of course, much earlier than he wanted to.

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