Phillies Likely to Lose Jake Arrieta for Year
The Philadelphia Phillies‘ pitching staff has already been decimated by injuries and they have now lost another, Jake Arrieta. He was placed on the ten-day injured list. Wednesday. Arrieta revealed he’d been pitching with a “marble-sized” bone spur in his elbow after a rough start on July sixth. In that game, he lasted just four-and-two-thirds innings while allowing six runs on 11 hits.
At first, Arrieta thought he could pitch through the injury and avoid surgery until the offseason. It’s now looking like he will opt for surgery and miss the remainder of the season.
Considering the injury, Arrieta had been surprisingly effective the first time through opposing batting orders this season. However, as his pitch counts got higher, the pain intensified and he started to struggle. In innings one through four this season, Arrieta has posted a 3.62 ERA which doesn’t jump of the page, but certainly isn’t terrible. However, in the fifth inning and later, his ERA jumps to 6.20 and he hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning since June 30th.
Latest Start Probably Jake Arrieta’s Last
In his latest start Sunday against San Francisco, Arrieta was tagged for five runs in just three innings pitched. He was forced to try to navigate the San Francisco Giants‘ offense with only his fastball, which averaged just 91.5 mph.
“I lacked the ability to throw any off-speed for effect. They made me pay for that,” said Arrieta. “They waited me out. I threw the fastball pretty well, but when I needed to either get ahead or throw a breaking ball in a situation to get a swing and miss or weak contact or a called strike, I couldn’t do it.”
The Phillies appreciated his toughness and willingness to try to pitch through the pain. Manager Gabe Kapler called his recent performances “heroic“, but the the Phillies simply can’t afford to keep playing from behind. There is also the risk of further injury to his elbow if he continues to pitch.
While the club has not officially announced that he’s done for the year, they have to believe that it’s currently the best thing for both Jake Arrieta and the Phillies.
“I don’t necessarily want to make a decision right now,” said Arrieta to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury after Sunday’s start. “We’ll have the off-day Monday and maybe have a conversation on Tuesday.”
It was revealed Wednesday that Arrieta will have an MRI Thursday morning and more than likely, the results will lead doctors to operate within the next few weeks.
Possible In-House Help
With Arrieta now on the injured list, the Phillies announced that Zach Eflin will take his place Saturday night against the San Diego Padres. Eflin had lots of success earlier in the season as part of the rotation, but he began to struggle mightily before the All-Star break.
If he can find his early-season form, it will be a huge boost to the rotation and he will probably stick for the remainder of the year. However, if he continues to struggle as a starter, the Phillies do have some in-house help if needed.
Other Options With Starting Experience
Nick Pivetta was originally in the rotation to start the year, but vastly under performed and moved to the bullpen. Ranger Suarez came up as a starter, but has performed better out of the bullpen. He’s likely to stay in that role due to the amount of injuries in the Phillies’ bullpen.
Cole Irvin is currently on the 40-man roster, but is pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He made some spot starts earlier in the year, but found little success. Perhaps the best move for the Phillies is to try an untested minor league arm. The guys they’ve tried haven’t worked out, so it certainly would not hurt to try someone new.
Adonis Medina is the club’s second ranked prospect, but with the Phillies chances to make a deep playoff run looking slim, it’s unlikely they will promote him until next season due to service time concerns. Spencer Howard has also looked very good in the minors, but is unlikely to see a promotion for the same reason as Medina.
The most likely candidate to be called up is Enyel De Los Santos. He’s got some pretty good numbers at Lehigh Valley. In 16 starts, he’s thrown 77 1/3 innings posting a 3.96 ERA with 72 strikeouts against just 24 walks. He also comes with previous MLB experience.
It remains to be seen how the front office will handle losing Jake Arrieta for the year. Regardless, someone will have to take the ball every fifth day. Hopefully, for the Phillies sake, they can find a diamond in the rough.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images