By Olivia Witherite (@oliviawitherite)
With April 6 less than a week away, skipper Buck Showalter still has yet to name his Opening Day starter. From Baltimore’s standpoint, the city is just waiting around for the words “Jake Arrieta” to pass through his lips.
In a recent interview, Showalter said to the media that he has decided the starter, “but there are some variables that may play into it and are still developing.”
Assuming that Arrieta is named the starter, there are a few questions that will arise. How will he fare in the No. 1 slot? How will he compare to last year’s Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie?
2012 will be Arrieta’s third season in the Big Leagues, all of which have been marked by a high ERA. Despite pitching to a winning record last season (10-8,) he struggled in many outings. He had a 5.05 ERA last season and only pitched up to seven innings three times.
With 2011 ace long gone in Jeremy Guthrie, Arrieta must fill the role as the No. 1. So, how exactly does he fare against Guthrie last season?
Guthrie in 2011:Year
Arrieta in 2011:Year
The one thing that is obvious that the Orioles need in Arrieta that they no longer have in Guthrie, although he finished with the most losses in the American League, is an innings eater. In Baltimore last year, Guthrie went 208 innings last season. Arrieta went 119.1. As far as ERA goes, realistically, I’m not really expecting Arrieta to finish the season with a low ERA, especially in the hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
So, what do I really want from Arrieta? Not necessarily a minimal ERA or the lowest number of home runs surrendered, although that would be nice. Instead, looking back to Guthrie, there are only two things that I want from potential-ace Arrieta this season.
1. Innings – The innings that Guthrie was so great at eating up
2. The wins – The wins that just couldn’t come to Guthrie
More realistic than many expectations? Definitely. Likely? Well, I’ll leave that one up to every fan to decide for him or herself.
Is Arrieta Baltimore’s best bet for the No. 1 starter? Let me know by leaving a comment below or on Twitter.