After a “just okay” kind of performance in New York, Jake Arrieta took the mound for his second start of the 2020 season against the Atlanta Braves, a team in which he has a career 3.27 ERA against.
Arrieta bolstered those numbers in the early going looking like the pitcher we thought we were getting back in 2018. He began the game with four scoreless innings and picking up six strikeouts along the way. But prized pitching prospect Kyle Wright of the Braves matched Arrieta pitch for pitch ... until the bottom of the fourth that is.
J.T “BCIB” Realmuto lead off the inning with a titanic shot to left field that just fell short of the second deck. It’s his fourth of the season in just seven games. It’s simple @Phillies, pay the man.
JT Realmuto three straight games with HR! pic.twitter.com/hQ4NMQ9tRy— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 8, 2020
The fun wouldn’t stop there though, Didi Gregorious singled to left then promptly stole second base and advanced to third on a bad throw from Travis D’Around. Jean Segura followed with a walk and then Jay Bruce hammered a hanging off-speed pitch into the Phillies bullpen 4-0 Phillies just like that.
Not only were the Phillies’ bats getting it done, the gloves were on display as well. Bryce Harper made this fantastic grab out in right field for the second out in the fifth inning, reminding everyone he’s really good at the whole defense thing too.
A couple of years ago, it looked like Bryce Harper might end up DHing for a large chunk of his career. He’s made a major commitment to his defense since coming to Philadelphia, and he’s turned in elite results. pic.twitter.com/d4ib2Q4WHq— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) August 8, 2020
Arrieta would end up being pulled after six shutout innings in a very strong performance. His final line on the day:
6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 SO
If he can do something similar to this on a consistent basis, this team has three very good starters to rely upon. The key will be just that: consistency. We’ve seen Jake have some strong stretches before, but if he can put it together for this 60 game sprint, it would be huge for the ball club.
Jose Alvarez took over in the seventh and got through two batters before allowing a hit to Nick Markakis, and subsequently being replaced by Tommy Hunter. All Hunter needed was one pitch to get out of the seventh, and he pitched a scoreless top of the eighth rebounding from a shaky outing vs. the Yankees.
Gregorious would continue his hot start with an RBI single to make it 5-0 heading into the top of the ninth where Deolis Guerra shut the door and the Phillies took game from the Braves. Their record now sits at 4-4 which seems like a small miracle considering how we felt about this team after a 1-3 start.