AND EVERYBODY PANICKED.
It was obvious from thing one that Arrieta had no command whatsoever, leaving pitches up in the zone when he wanted them down, leaving them way too down when he was trying to stay low. Something was off.
Hopefully, it’s just this:
#Cubs say Arrieta has a blister on his thumb. It's considered to be minor
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 24, 2016
Official now from Cubs: Jake Arrieta with a blister on this thumb. Considered minor
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 24, 2016
Hopefully, the blister is an isolated thing – sometimes, pitchers deal with them repeatedly – and it heals, leaving Arrieta the same guy we’ve been expecting. Perhaps tonight was nothing but a flukey blister blip. And, hey, who wants Arrieta to show the Giants his best stuff in Spring Training anyway?
We’ll see if Arrieta takes his next scheduled Spring Training start, which would be his last before Opening Day on April 4. For now, try your best not to freak out, because this is one of those things that, while unnerving in the moment, is far more likely to be an unremembered blip a few months from now than the beginning of the end.
UPDATE: Buster Olney interviewed Arrieta on the broadcast from the dugout (which is already a good sign, because if this were about some larger physical issue, Arrieta wouldn’t be back out in the dugout). In short, Arrieta’s not worried about the blister being a long-term concern as long as it gives it time to heal. He’s dealt with it before. Otherwise, he says he feels good physically, and is repeating his delivery well. For now, that’s all we can ask for, and now we must do the agonizing waiting game for more data (i.e., whenever he pitches again and shows that his command and velocity are just fine).