As the Philadelphia Phillies meandered to the ballpark on Wednesday afternoon, they must have been in a melancholy mood. They had just lost a heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Reds the night before, but they were going to face Bronson Arroyo that night. Arroyo had gone 1-7 against the Phillies and, one would suspect, would struggle with them again that night. Alas, that is not how the night turned went at all.
Arroyo (10-7) pitched, quite possibly, his best game of the year against the hated Phillies – in Philadelphia – that night. He went eight innings, gave up two runs, struck out four, walked nobody and only gave up three hits. It was a very, very good outing for the crafty righthander.
However, that game was not an anomaly. Arroyo has been, dare I say, en fuego for the last 10 games. During that span of games, he is 7-2 with an ERA of 3.50. (He is 6-1 in the last seven.) He has given up three or fewer runs in eight of the 10, two or fewer in six of the 10 and zero runs in two of the 10. It should also be noted that he flirted with a no hitter and a perfect game during that stretch too.
Arroyo has no velocity. He tops out at 88 mph most of the time. However, he has great control on his breaking stuff. He can change speed drastically on all pitches. In addition, Arroyo has learned to throw his pitches from all different arm angles.
Arroyo does give up homeruns. He led the league in that category last year (46) and he has given up 22 this year. But, it must be noted, a majority of those homeruns are solo shots. The major reason they are solo shots is that he issues very few walks.
Arroyo will never be confused with an ace of the staff, nor with someone who will blow the doors off of a batter. But his durability (he has averaged 34 starts since ’04) and bulldoggedness (a word I made up) makes him a very valuable member of the Reds staff.
Welcome back from last year, Arroyo.