(CBS) — Former Oriole pitcher Jake Arrieta continued to show why Baltimore and the rest of baseball made a mistake in looking beyond his erratic seasons of the past.
Arrieta has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the game this season, limiting opponents to a .200 batting average.
“He threw the ball extremely well and made some great pitches, ” manager Rick Renteria said. “When you face your former club, you always have a little extra adrenaline. He seemed to contain it pretty well.”
The 28-year-old RHP was as efficient as ever on Friday, shutting down his former team on one run and four hits through seven innings, winning his seventh game of 2014. The Cubs made a great deal for Arrieta in July of 2013, trading Scott Feldman to Baltimore for Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Strop has developed into a solid setup man, while Arrieta has turned his career around under the guidance of pitching coach Chris Bosio.
The Cubs are revamping their pitching rotation. Arrieta could be the ace of a young developing staff over the next few seasons. The front office is hoping he is just coming into his own while trying to prove himself as a durable major-league starter. The pitcher missed the entire 2014 spring training session while nursing a sore right shoulder.
Arrieta made his 20th start of 2014, the second most he has thrown as a professional pitcher (22 was the most he previously had started – 2011).
“I use all the information in between starts and I know my body better now,” is how Arrietta described his improvement since working with Bosio and the Cub support staff. “I know how to execute at a higher percentage. Those are some of the things are starting to translate.”
Strop allowed a base hit and walk before inducing Adam Jones to ground out with the potential tying run in the batter’s box. Strop struck out two hitters while securing a hold.
“I wanted to keep the ball on the ground,” Strop said about his sequence of pitches to Jones. “I was working with my sinker, down and away. I wanted to keep the ball on the ground with a better chance to get him out. That was my adjustment and plan.”
Arrieta and Strop had a few conversations with their former teammates, but the sea of Oriole fans in the stands was no barrier for either pitcher.
“There was a little bit more to the game being your former team,” Arrieta said. “After the first inning it was kind of business as usual.”