Arrighetti's MLB debut a struggle against streaking Royals

April 11th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- Through two innings, 's Major League pitching debut was going just fine. But then, the third inning rolled around and the positive vibes for the Astros’ highly-regarded prospect were obliterated by a Royals’ frenzied hitting attack that was like nothing he had seen at Triple-A Sugar Land.

Before Arrighetti could get the final out in the fateful third, Kansas City had put seven runs on the board and was cruising toward giving the Astros an 11-2 defeat, dropping Houston to 4-9.

“That third inning kind of got away from him,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “He started leaving some balls over the plate and everything they put in play fell for them. So, just not the outing he was expecting.”

The big inning started not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Kyle Isbel hit a weak roller to a safe spot on the left side where shortstop Jeremy Peña fielded the ball on the run. But Peña felt he didn’t have a play at first with Isbel running and didn’t risk a throw. From there, it went downhill quickly for Arrighetti as the Royals’ hitters peppered him with five more knocks in the inning that went up-the-middle or the opposite way. Left-handed-hitting Vinnie Pasquantino, who didn’t have an RBI all year, struck the first big blow with a two-run double to left and then it went from bad to worse for Arrighetti.

“I’ve definitely had better days,” Arrighetti said after his 79-pitch outing. “I made some mistakes with four-seam [fastballs] and I made some mistakes with spin. These guys are really good hitters. Even if I miss [only] by a little bit, it gets put in play. I learned that really quickly today.”

Espada made it clear after the game that Arrighetti will have the chance to build on what he learned in his MLB debut.

“He’s going to get a second opportunity,” Espada said. “Pitching in the big leagues is not an easy task. But he has the weapons to be successful.”

It was a whirlwind last couple of days for Arrighetti, who was in Albuquerque on Tuesday when he received a call telling him to pack and catch a flight to Kansas City. With Framber Valdez on the 15-day IL, the Astros need reinforcement in their starting rotation.

When Arrighetti next takes the mound for his second Major League start, the lessons he learned on Wednesday will be useful.

“I need to be sharper the second time through the lineup,” Arrighetti said. “I think I got away with a little bit early because they hadn’t seen my stuff. That second time through, I need to be in the zone when I need to be and out of the zone when I need to be.”

Pasquantino felt the Royals prepared well when they got the news that Arrighetti was coming up to face them on short notice.

“I feel like we had a pretty good game plan,” Pasquantino said. “It may not have looked like it the first time through, but that’s sometimes just how it goes.”

When Arrighetti gets the ball again for his next outing, he will have had some time to settle in and get a feel for life in the Major Leagues.

“I need to work on my spin offerings in two-strike counts,” Arrighetti said. “I think I left a lot on the table there. The biggest takeaway is that this is all a big learning curve.”