Jake Arrieta, 24, makes his major league debut tonight against the New York Yankees.
For all the fans out there who have completely tuned out the Orioles, and I don't blame you, you will at least have a reason to watch tonight.
Jake Arrieta, the final piece of the "Big 3" (other members include Brian Matusz & Chris Tillman) makes his debut tonight against the New York Yankees.
The Yankees? Tough draw.
The other night, Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasberg made his debut against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, went 7 innings, allowed 2 ER and struck out a whopping 14 batters.
Arrieta won't have that kind of success against the Yankees. Probably not even close.
But it's OK. This is the AL East. Arrieta might as well get baptized by fire. He also has a bulldog mentality and would probably tell you he wanted it to work out this way.
Arrieta, 24, was drafted in 2007 after turning down offers to sign with both the Reds and Brewers in the 2005 and 2006 drafts to play baseball at Texas Christian University. He started off in Frederick in 2008 and struck out 120 batters in 113 innings while posting a 2.89 ERA. Toward the end of 2008 he joined Team USA in the Beijing Olympics where he allowed only 1 ER in 35 innings. The following year he stopped in Bowie for 11 starts before moving up to Norfolk where he made 17 starts. He ended the year with a combined 3.40 ERA and 148 K's in 150 innings.
And so far in Norfolk this year, Jake has an astounding 1.85 ERA. The problem is his strikeouts are down to 8 per 9 innings and his walks are up to 4.3. He previously averaged 3 walks per 9 innings, so the increase is quite alarming. But, Arrieta has made it work.
Will it work in the majors? Probably. But expect him to struggle like Matusz and Tillman have before him. The walks will be frustrating to watch, that's for sure.
But aside from any potential growing pains, it is refreshing to finally see Matusz, Tillman and now Arrieta all in the Orioles rotation. It may not translate to a better record right off the bat, but those three pitchers are the foundation for any future success and they are all in Baltimore to stay.
So, are you going to watch tonight? Is the major league debut of another highly-ranked prospect enough to make you tune in these days, as the Orioles are 16-43, good for the worst record in baseball?
For just one night, it should be.