Following Friday night’s disastrous loss to the Phillies, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. reportedly threw a chair during a meeting with coaches, and said to Mickey Calloway, “Go conduct your [forking] press conference.” After Saturday’s game, Jake Arrieta found a way to one-up Van Wagenen’s outburst with an exceedingly violent and (hopefully) empty threat directed at New York’s Todd Frazier.
During Saturday night’s game Arrieta hit Frazier with a changeup. It didn’t look intentional, but Frazier took offense. In the two years that Frazier has been with the Mets, he’s been plunked by the Phillies seven times, so the frustration had been mounting. After the game, Arrieta said, “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.” It takes some serious mental gymnastics to have this kind of response to someone getting mad that you hit them with a baseball even if it was unintentional.
“Todd is upset that I could have injured him with my lousy pitching, so I will murder Todd.”
If you’re checking the schedule to see when Arrieta and Frazier could meet again, you’ll likely have to wait until next year. This morning, Matt Gelb and Ken Rosenthal reported that Arrieta has a bone spur in his right elbow, and it’s probable that he’ll require season-ending surgery. The decision will be made in the next few days as the Phillies evaluate the situation.
Jake Arrieta will be evaluated in the next few days by #Phillies medical staff to determine if he can/should continue pitching with bone spur.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) July 7, 2019
If Arrieta does have surgery this won’t be the first time he’s had this sort of procedure done. In 2011, his season was cut short by another bone spur in his throwing arm. A bone spur would certainly explain Arrieta’s lack of control on Saturday night and his poor performance as of late. On Saturday, he gave up six runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. On the season, Arrieta hasn’t pitched well—he owns a 4.67 ERA in 108 innings—but he’s been even worse over the last month. Over his last seven starts, Arrieta has a 6.63 ERA and a 6.26 FIP.
Losing Arrieta could alter the Phillies’ plans for the deadline. Philadelphia was already looking to add a starting pitcher. Typically, this would create some urgency for the team, but this might cause the Phillies to re-evaluate their chances of contention. Arrieta would be the third major player that they’ve lost for the rest of the year. Andrew McCutchen tore his ACL at the beginning of June, and Odúbel Herrera has been suspended for the remainder of the season for domestic violence.
Entering play today, the Phillies were 6.5 games back of the Braves, but only a half-game back of the Brewers in the Wild Card race. The Phillies could go out and get a starter, cross their fingers, and hope they play better down the stretch, but even with reinforcements, a playoff berth is unlikely. FanGraphs projects them to finish at 82-80. The Phillies’ playoff odds stand at just 21.9 percent after going 11-16 in June. With Arrieta, the Phillies have played like a third-place team as they’ve given up as many runs as they’ve scored.
The Phillies might not be the biggest tire fire in the NL East this year, but Arrieta’s weekend didn’t make things any better. Arrieta can’t control his health, but he didn’t have to exacerbate tensions between two teams that already have bad blood.