Things are looking grim for the Orioles. With under 100 games left they still haven’t reached 20 wins, their farm system is under performing, injuries have hurt their chances of being competitive and players haven’t lived up to their hype from last season. But one call up has the right attitude, the right swagger and confidence that this team so desperately needs. Jake Arrieta.
Though Arrieta’s path to the majors at age 24 was a bit longer than that of Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, or Chris Tillman, he’s shown the most confidence and potential with his attitude of any of the Orioles pitching prospects. In his debut, Arrieta earned a win in 6 innings and surrendered just 4 hits to the best line up in baseball, the New York Yankees.
While the rookie appears to have what it takes on the mound, after just two starts, I feel more confident in his attitude thus far in his young career. A few quotes from a recent blog post by MASNSports.com’s writer Steve Melewski stuck out to me in particular.
“This year I just really became a better pitcher,” Arrieta said. “Commanding my pitches a little bit better. Attacking the strike zone more. Keeping the ball down in the zone. Minimizing my mistakes. Those things all come with time and experience. I feel like I’ve put it all together this season thus far.”
He relies on his pitches and believes they will make him successful. “I’m very confident that when I go out there I have the feeling that I can beat each and every team I’m up against.”
“As a kid, anything I did, whether it’s sport-related or not, I wanted to win, he told Melewski. “I’ve always had that competitive nature and it really helps on the field.”
My favorite quote of the article had to be his formula for getting men out, “If you command your pitches and keep the ball down, they will get themselves out. That’s what I have to do, stick with what is working and command the ball.”
The Orioles have needed a guy with this type of confidence for a while. I hope that despite their bad season, Arrieta will keep to that mindset and continue to pitch his game. That mentality will hold other players accountable for their games and only leads to good things.
“You have to have confidence. I wouldn’t call it cockiness, but I’m very confident that I have the ability to win no matter who I am facing.”