'Just not his day': Arrighetti to flush start with eye towards Father's Day

June 16th, 2024

HOUSTON -- When asked what he was going to do to flush the unsightly memories from the shortest start of his young career, Astros rookie right-hander 's thoughts turned to the comforts of home.

“It’s Father’s Day weekend, so I’m going to go see my dad and try to make it more about him than about me,” he said. “I feel like that’s a pretty good way to let it go.”

Arrighetti, who started in place of the injured Justin Verlander (neck discomfort), recorded only four outs in Saturday afternoon’s 13-5 loss to the Tigers at Minute Maid Park, giving up a career-high-tying seven earned runs, including three homers. He faced 12 batters and gave up five hits, two walks and hit a batter.

“I just definitely didn’t have great control of the ball tonight,” Arrighetti said. “I didn’t really make good adjustments, either. I got hit hard in the middle of the plate, would miss big and get hit hard in the middle of the plate again. Just generally wasn’t good.”

Arrighetti has been one of the Astros’ biggest feel-good stories of the season, and has steadily matured into a solid starter with each start. The only other time he gave up seven runs was in his first Major League start on April 10 at Kansas City. He had a 10.97 ERA through three starts, and had lowered it to 5.33 entering Saturday. It sits at 6.37 through his first 53 2/3 innings.

“He’s human,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “It’s just not his day. We’ll see how he bounces back. He’s a tough kid, and I expect him to go back to work and be better next time out there.”

Arrighetti was originally scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale, but the Astros moved him up a day to pitch on four days of rest after Verlander was scratched. Arrighetti said having to pitch a day earlier had no effect on his performance.

“They were really transparent about the situation with me and the possibility,” he said. “In my head, I was going to start today either way, in the possibility it was going to be the case. I don’t think it affected me.”

Arrighetti recorded a strikeout to begin the game before giving up consecutive homers to Matt Vierling and Riley Greene (4-for-5 with six RBIs) in a span of three pitches. It took him 28 pitches to finish the first inning, but he was very much still in position to have a good outing moving forward.

Things unraveled in the second inning, beginning with consecutive walks and a hit by pitch that loaded the bases with no outs. Wenceel Pérez made it 4-0 Detroit with a two-run single, and Greene uncorked a three-run homer later in the inning, ending Arrighetti’s day after 48 pitches.

“Obviously, you want to respond after you get hit hard,” Arrighetti said. “I feel like I threw some pitches that maybe I had gotten away with at other times this year. I felt like in that moment they were competitive, but not in good locations.

"It’s definitely hard to get your feet under you when you give up a homer and two pitches later, you give up another one. Obviously, it doesn't feel good, but I still have to challenge myself to adjust faster next time.”

Arrighetti generated only three whiffs on the 20 swings the Tigers took. Detroit’s average exit velocity against Arrighetti was 93.6 mph.

“The homers were really bad pitches, especially the changeup to Riley Greene for the three-run homer,” he said. “That was a terrible pitch. Nobody would look at that and be happy about it. There were some in there that were more competitive than others, and they all seemed to get hit pretty hard tonight.

“I’m going to go back and look and see maybe why. Maybe I didn’t set things up well, or maybe I wasn't executing at a high enough rate when I was in the zone and they were excited to see the pitch in the zone, if that makes sense. It was a really tough outing.”

Nothing that some time at home with dad can’t cure.