Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez and Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Jake Arrieta spent several seasons together in Chicago, when Martinez was the Cubs’ bench coach, and the right-hander started for the Cubbies.
Going up against Arrieta for the first time as the Nationals’ manager last season, Martinez talked to reporters about how the Nationals needed to attack the pitcher, who joined the Phillies as a free agent in 2018.
“We’ve got to swing at strikes,” Martinez said.
“I truly believe that from the other side. Teams that make him throw the ball over the plate, he can run his pitch count up, so we’ve got to be aggressive, but be aggressive in the strike zone. He’s really good. I can’t sit here and pretend that he’s not.”
Arrieta went six strong in that outing, giving up two hits, two walks, and one earned run, on a home run by Matt Adams.
He faced the Nationals three more times in 2018, giving up a total of 11 runs, 10 earned, in 19 IP, over which he held hitters to a .197/.299/.439 line.
The first time they faced Arrieta this season, the Nats put up five hits and three runs, two of them earned.
Tonight in D.C., weather permitting, the Nationals will face the right-hander a second time.
Martinez’s scouting report this time around?
“It’s all about command with him,” the second-year skipper said.
“When he’s attacking the strike zone and throwing strikes, he’s tough. I mean he’s got three really good pitches, so he can be tough, especially when he starts working down, so we’ve got to stay in the strike zone with him, and make him throw strikes.”
In 14 starts this season, the 10-year veteran has a 4.31 ERA, a 5.03 FIP, 36 walks, 70 Ks, and a .271/.346/.434 line against in 85 2⁄3 IP.
[ed. note - “If there was any doubt in your mind, yes Max Scherzer is starting in spite of his broken nose.”]