By: Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There were some rumors towards the end of last year that Jake Arrieta wasn’t “Jake Arrieta” anymore. That his fastball had lost some velocity. From the small sample size that the Phillies saw on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, and those brave enough to sit out in the cold, they have to wonder if Jake Arrieta is “Jake Arrieta” anymore.
The 2015 Cy Young winner left after pitching four innings, in which he gave up three runs, two earned and striking out five. He threw 75 pitches, one that Miguel Rojas poked for a homer in the first inning. Arrieta was capped by a pitch count, which was around 75 pitches.
It is just one start, but there has to be some concern that at 32, with a lot of wear and tear on the right-handers arm, Arrieta is at best a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. There could be even greater concern that he may not be the pitcher he was two years ago. He topped at 93 mph, about 2 mph less than when he was at his CY Young best.
“I was a little erratic in the first, obviously a little too giddy, pulling a lot of stuff out of the zone,” Arrieta said. “The homer was a ball trying to go down and away, and it kind of got away from me there. I did a really good job after that of taking away some effort, and being conscientious of spinning the ball in the strike zone.
“After the third, I knew I was working with 10 pitches. I was able to do that. It was a tremendous series for our guys, and much improved for the first couple of series.”
The Phillies did show some life this weekend. They won consecutive games for the first time under new manager Gabe Kapler, but they dropped a game that going into it appeared to be the one genuine “W” of the weekend, since Arrieta was pitching.
As the Phillies were dropping to 3-5, in the process of losing 6-3, there was one lone fan chanting, “Let’s go Flyers, let’s go Flyers.”
The Flyers are heading toward the playoffs. The Phillies have a chance to reach the postseason, too, if Jake Arrieta becomes “Jake Arrieta.”
The first impression wasn’t a good one—but there is considerable room for growth.