Phillies counting on Arrieta against Pirates
The former Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs has double-digit wins in each of the past four seasons, and a career 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. But he learned in his first season with the Phillies that it is all about the wins.
Philadelphia moved well above .500 by making careful decisions, and that included pulling Arrieta after five strong innings and 70 pitches Sunday against Washington simply because the club was trailing 3-0 with one hit.
“You have to find a way to score runs. You’re running out of outs. You’re down,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of his decision to pinch-hit Carlos Santana for Arrieta after he had given up two earned runs and four hits.
Philadelphia ended up scoring three runs that inning for a tie and winning 4-3 in 13 innings.
“There was quite a bit of debate, and mostly because of how good Jake was,” Kapler said. “I was confident we could have gotten two, maybe three more innings out of him. However, we didn’t know if we were going to have an opportunity to score.
“So there was definitely internal debate, mostly because of how good Jake is and because I knew he could give us length there — and because I knew he wanted to give us length. He’s earned the opportunity to do so. But for the strategy of the Phillies, I didn’t think that was the right move.”
Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA) hasn’t been winning at his customary clip, the no-decision notwithstanding. On Saturday, he’ll face right-hander Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05 ERA) and the struggling Pirates (40-47).
Arrieta is 11-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 career starts against Pittsburgh. The only time he faced them this season, he struck out 10 while pitching seven one-hit scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory on April 19.
The Phillies opened this series with a 17-5 smackdown Friday and have won five straight and six of seven to gain a share of the National League East lead.
The Pirates have lost four in a row — by a combined 48-13, with 59 hits and 12 homers allowed — and five of six. They continue to shuffle their lineup.
“There’s no sense in keeping it the same, is usually a point I get to, because we’re not getting the results we want to get,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
In his most recent start, Taillon lasted just 4 2/3 innings Sunday in San Diego. He left with a lead in a game the Pirates won 7-5 but gave up a homer and two singles with two outs in the fourth to prompt the pitching change.
“I’m hunting a lot of good work, and I just need to keep going,” Taillon, who is is 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in his past 14 starts, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Against the Phillies, Taillon is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts. This is a rematch of the April 19 game that Arrieta won. In that game, Taillon was rocked for five runs in 1 2/3 innings.