• Mar

    Arrieta takes lead in 5th starter competition

    Jake Arrieta went four shutout innings today against the Pirates allowing just two hits while striking out five. This was huge for a guy trying to make the team as the 5th starter and especially considering the lack of viable alternatives.

    In retrospect, Zach Britton only went two innings, allowing one run on one hit while striking out two. The fact that Arrieta started and went four innings and Britton relieved and went two, gives Arrieta the clear edge in the 5th starter's competition as of March 11th.

    Now, before we start annointing Arrieta the 5th starter, we have to remember that consistency is not one of Arrieta's strong points. This is his second quality start if you count his start against the Spain WBC team, which was a bad AA lineup at best, but we'll need to see him continue this success against major league competition the rest of the spring.

    Arrieta has the best pure stuff of any starter in the O's camp, but he's never been able to put it all together. Last year he was the opening day starter, so perhaps being the 5th starter might relieve some of the pressure and allow his talent to show through.

    Britton on the other hand did not do well against the Spain team and although his stats overall have been decent, the fact that he's not getting stretched out past two innings suggest he's falling behind for the 5th starter's gig.

    Jair Jurrjenns has been miserable so far and Brian Matusz seems destined for the pen. The only other possibility is the Orioles swinging a trade for a veteran starter, but with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman (who was brilliant yesterday and flashed a 98 MPH fastball) waiting in the wings, the Orioles may want to go ahead and start the season with one of their in-house options.

    If they do, Arrieta is in the lead for the job as of today.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.