Friday, June 11, 2010

Arrieta impressive in win

Arrieta gets some props from Adam Jones after a solid 6 IP, 3 ER major league debut performance against the Yankees.

Jake Arrieta beat the defending World Series champion Yankees in his major league debut.

Talk about impressive.

Arrieta went 6 innings, allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, walked 4 and struck out 6. He exuded confidence and swagger on the mound, pumping his fist as he struck out Marcus Thames with the bases loaded to end the 6th inning, and his night.

It was the first time I'd seen Arrieta pitch since Frederick in 2008. His delivery is sound, and repeatable. He looks a lot like Mike Mussina, physically and in the way he pitches. His fastball had some great late movement and his change-up fooled Derek Jeter. His curveball was off all night, but what more could you ask for? He pitches his way out of a few jams and never lost his poise.

Outside of Arrieta, the bullpen did its job, as Frank Mata, Will Ohman and David Hernandez combined for 3 innings of work, allowing 1 hit and no runs. David Hernandez made his first appearance as closer and looked good in the role, walking a batter, but otherwise getting out of the inning easily. After the game, Juan Samuel said that Alfredo Simon will be the closer when he comes back from the DL, but I have to wonder how long that will last. Hernandez is clearly the best pitcher in the bullpen and that pitcher should always be the closer. Simon would make a good set-up guy, however. And Samuel may not last long enough as Orioles manager to make that decision. Andy MacPhail interviews former Mets manager Bobby Valentine today.

Offensively, the Orioles continued their recent "surge", especially in the clutch. Scott Moore hit a solo home run and Luke Scott could have had an inside-the-park HR had he not slammed down his bat coming out of the box and jogged to first before seeing Swisher missing the ball as he slammed into the scoreboard. Scott ended up with a triple, but it was disturbing to see him jog to first just a few days after he did the same thing. Thankfully, Samuel greeted him after he scored, and the two men had a discussion that was shown on MASN. Samuel appeared to be taking a light approach to reprimanding Scott, but Scott seemed to be offering up some BS excuses that broadcaster Gary Thorne took issue with. I agreed with Thorne. But whatever. At least Scott knows that he's being watched. And I wonder if that is something that Dave Trembley would have done under the same circumstances.

Adam Jones had a decent night at the plate, and looks a lot better than he did earlier in the season, despite the fact that he still can't hit a curve ball to save his life. But still, a 2 for 4 night with 2 RBI is solid for Jones who was a major disappointment to start the season. In his last 22 plate appearances, Jones has a .935 OPS including 3 -- count 'em -- 3 walks. He has 8 on the year. Maybe he is finally getting hot.

So it was a good all-around win. And it was against the Yankees, who the Orioles are 2-10 against on the year. Savor this moment. Arrieta got his first win and looked really impressive. Will the team carry this momentum into the future?

Is this the start of some *gasp* good baseball? We shall see.

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