Game 78: Orioles vs. A’s

Haven’t done a game preview in a while. Thought is was worthwhile, seeing as how I’ll be attending this one. The Orioles are doing a little test-run with giving bloggers more press access, and so I was invited to watch the game from the press-box (but that’s all we get for now). No idea what to expect, but it should be fun. The O’s are finishing up their three-game set with the A’s; in a battle of young right-handers, Jake Arrieta goes for the win against Trevor Cahill.

Cahill:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
6.2 2.9 1.0 53.3% 4.17 4.02 1.0

He had a little bit of a rough rookie season in 2009, but has improved in every facet of the game. The 2.88 ERA is not going to be sustainable, but it looks like Cahill is developing into a quality starter.

His stuff^:

You can see how Cahill is able to generate so many groundballs; he throws his sinker a pretty often, and the pitch gets a lot of downward movement. His off-speed stuff has been effective, and the swings (especially out of the zone) and misses are part of how he’s increased his strike-outs rate. If he’s throwing strikes at the knees and getting ahead in the count early (and thus able to throw the change and curve out of the zone), it might be a tough day for the Orioles’ batters.

Arrieta:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
4.9 5.3 0.9 41.8% 5.25 5.78 0.1

Ahem: “it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he had some trouble getting his strike-out to walk ratio over 1 for a little while.”

He hasn’t pitches as poorly as his 6.20 ERA, but it’s still not great. I was hoping his nice Triple-A groundball rate would transfer better to the majors, though it still may.

His stuff:

Arrieta has used his fastball quite a bit.  It’s an above average pitch, getting a little bit of sink and some tailing action, but he’s sometimes left it up in the zone too much so far. The breaking pitches both look good, but he’s not getting as many swings and misses on them as one would expect – perhaps because he’s not getting the ball down enough. The change-up, on the other hand, is generating some whiffs – even though there’s not much separation velocity-wise from the fastball and it’s a relatively straight pitch. Whatever works, I guess. I think Arrieta has an above average repertoire, if he can improve his command.