Phillies

Phillies

Jake Arrieta threw 35 pitches in the bullpen before Thursday's home opener as he narrowed his preparation for his Phillies debut Sunday.

"It's going to be very special," the 32-year-old right-hander said. "I've played here quite a bit. I've pitched really well here. I'm very comfortable with the surroundings. I love the bullpens. The comfort level already is very high.

"So to be able to put the home pinstripes on and pitch in front of these fans, especially our opening weekend here, it's going to be really special. There's going to be a lot of that nervous anxious energy you get at the start of really any season, regardless of what uniform you're wearing."

Arrieta, who signed a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phils last month, worked himself to 68 pitches in a simulated game in Clearwater on Monday.

"I'm ready to get extended," he said.

Of course, "getting extended" has been an issue in the early days of the Gabe Kapler era. The Phillies are intent on protecting their starting pitchers. Aaron Nola was removed after throwing 68 pitches on opening day and a 5-0 lead became an 8-5 loss in Atlanta.

Arrieta was asked if he expected Kapler to be careful with him on Sunday.

"I don't know," he said.

Arrieta then made it pretty clear he wouldn't be in favor of a quick hook without good reason.

"I think a lot of that, you've got to use the eye test," he said. "If a guy is rolling then you may extend him a little bit longer and if you have high-stress innings, one or multiple, then you kind of reevaluate and go from there. But I think you've got to watch the game and see how it unfolds and if you're cruising then you would obviously like to continue to stay out there, but it's tough to plead your case if you're struggling to stay in the game.

 

"So it just depends on how the game unfolds and how things progress, but if I'm rolling I intend to be out there for quite a while."

The soft-spoken Nola didn't lobby Kapler to stay in the game on opening day.

Arrieta was the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs. That comes with some cachet. So if he found himself in a similar situation to Nola's, he would lobby the manager to stay in.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "If it's done smartly, for sure. We pitch one out of every five days so if there's an extra 20 pitches in there that we can give our team then we want to do that. So, yeah, I'm always trying to plead my case."

Arrieta has won both of his previous starts at Citizens Bank Park. In 15 innings of work, he has allowed just one run. He walked one and struck out 16.