Jake Arrieta didn’t pitch enough in spring training.
The Phillies’ newest toy — a $75 million toy — made his debut on the mound in South Philly against the Marlins Sunday afternoon and looked rusty at best.
It wasn’t the best start for the new ace, whose second batter — Miguel Rojas — went yard on a 2-1 pitch. A walk, hit and catchers interference tested Arrieta early, as he was unable to squirm out of a bases loaded jam with two outs as Braxton Lee’s bloop two-RBI single put Miami ahead 3-0.
In all, Arrieta needed 65 pitches to get through three innings, and went four innings in total (74 pitches). If this was a typical start, Arrieta would have legitamite beef with oft-overmanaging Gabe Kapler. But this was in reality a tune up for him against one of the worst teams in baseball.
It’s just one game, and surely a full spring schedule would have allowed Arrieta to be much closer to midseason form than he was Sunday. But was there a reason why Arrieta remained unsigned halfway through March?
There has been a sure decline in his ability in his age 32 season but the hurler did post a 2.26 ERA over the second half of 2017 with the Cubs and still has good stuff.
As he did eventually show at Citizens Bank Park, retiring 10 of the final 11 batters he faces without giving up a hit.
Luckily, too for the righty, the offense was still frisky after exploding for 20 runs Saturday night. Solid base-running helped Nick Williams knock an RBI-single and Carlos Santana a sac fly in the first, with Rhys Hoskins slamming an RBI double in the third to equalize things in the matinee.
In the crisp cold 45-degree weather, Arrieta wasn’t at his best. But as the weather heats up, as he has so many times before, the bearded man Chicago fans called Jake the Snake will find his midseason stride — eventually.