Jake Arrieta spoke for a few minutes about being sent down to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday. He expects to start Friday for the Tides.
Here is what he said:
"I wasn't doing my job well enough. That's the bottom line. The team needs me. They need me to be better. That's the bottom line, really. I wasn't good enough right now."
What will you work on at Triple-A?
"It's pretty obvious. I talked to Buck about a few things. We talked about things as far as high anxiety situations, and he pretty much asked me, 'Why do you have high anxiety in any situation with the stuff that you have?' Basically, I told him that I just want to be what my team needs me to be. And sometimes I create the anxiety for myself. So I just need to limit that and know that I don't have to create those types of situations for myself."
What do you feel has led to your problems?
"It's not a stuff issue. As far as my mental approach, I really think it's just knowing that the past is really irrelevant. It's about just staying in the moment. I let previous instances creep up in my thought process sometimes. I think that's where things go awry, and that's where the walks come in. I'm not giving up many hits, just putting them on base for free. Just got to command the ball better in the strike zone. That's pretty much it."
How disappointed are you after believing you had turned things around in the spring?
"Made a lot of adjustments. I'm moving in the right direction. It's just allowing innings to get out of hand with free passes. If I allow them to put the ball in play, things work out in my favor more times than not. That's what I have to emphasize when I go down there. Get back to where I need to be to help this team. That's the bottom line, really. Me being in position to have my dominant stuff from start to finish. There's really not a reason I can't do that. I just need to be more aware of what I need to do well and just go out and do it."
Do you feel you'll have difficulty figuring things out while facing lesser talent at Triple-A?
"It's not going to be a challenge at all. For me, it doesn't matter who is in the box. I just need to execute more efficiently. Just need to get deeper into games with a lower pitch count. And that's what this team needs me to [do], pitch in the six, seventh and eighth innings. And I think the reason this is happening is because we haven't been going deep, I haven't been going deep enough in the games, and we need another arm to come up to take the strain off the bullpen. We need those guys for the long haul. And, myself included, if we don't go deep in the games, it puts a lot of strain on those guys. So we have to be better and more efficient in going deep into games."
Expect this to be a short stay at Triple-A?
"I don't plan on being down there for long. I need to just keep moving in the right direction. I just need to pound the strike zone. It's not a mechanical issue. It's not a physical issue. It's just going down there and doing it. I've done it before. I've done it for years. I've improved over the years, I need to keep improving. I need to be the guy that this team needs."
You'll go down and be a starter?
"Yeah. I mean, if [relieving] happens at any point in time, then it happens. But I know I can be a very effective starter for this organization at a high level. Just got to get better."