Jake Arrieta looks like a $75 million man in domination of Pirates

Things are looking up for the Rhys Hoskins and the Phillies after a 1-4 start. The Phils returned home from a 4-3 road trip winners in six of their last nine games

Unfortunately, Arrieta was at a slight disadvantage compared to the rest of his teammates since he missed out on most of spring training, but Thursday's big win against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the flawless example of why he was worth signing last month.

Arrieta's sinker/fastball averaged 92.7 miles per hour Thursday compared to 91.9 in his first start and 91.7 in his second start.

Arrieta struck out seven through the first four innings - he had struck out only six over 10 ⁄3 innings in his first two starts. It was a reassuring outing coming on the heels of his previous start in which he struck out just one batter.

Obviously, the true test will be whether Philadelphia can continue playing this well over the next couple of months since it's only April, and they still have a long way to go, but at least players like Arrieta provide this team with some excitement. He had a total of nine swings and misses in his first two starts. When his command his strong and the ball is moving like it was (Thursday) and then he's got the velo (velocity). Acquired from the Reds for Marlon Byrd, Lively has provided an excellent return on value in his 18 career starts, allowing only 52 earned runs in the majors.

In the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on first and third on the road in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh pitcher George Kontos caught Rhys Hoskins napping at first base on a pickoff.

Jameson Taillon failed to get through the second inning for the Pirates, surrendering five runs on four hits and two walks over 1 2/3 innings. "The velo came back today in a big way and all of those things combined made for an incredible outing".

"Any time I get a multiple run lead I'm going to be aggressive with the strike zone", Arrieta told reporters after the game.

"He's been among the best leaders I've ever been around", Kapler said. For a rotation that was already on the rise led by Aaron Nola, there's a reason why many believed the addition of Arrieta would help the Phillies reach a whole new competitive level. "He's taken our young pitchers under his wing".

Phillies starters began Friday with the second-best ERA (3.26) in the National League.

The Phillies are handing the ball to righty Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87 ERA), who has 17 strikeouts and three walks, as well as a WHIP of 1.63.

Arrieta knows the influence he can have the Phillies young pitchers.

"I knew that was going to be part of my responsibility", he said.

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