Jake Arrieta used to get batters out by blasting them with sinkers, sliders, and curves. Occasionally, he would throw a changeup — four times for every 100 pitches — but he’s been utilizing the tailing pitch twice as often this year.
Even more specifically, Arrieta is frequently using the change as a follow-up to sinkers. While the former Cy Young winner threw a changeup after a sinker 68 times in 2016, he had already used that combo 58 times prior to Sunday’s shut-down start.
Although Arrieta is using the sinker/changeup combination more, it’s still the sixth most popular pitch duo he’s employed so far in the season. It seems as if he’s most comfortable following up sinkers with either another sinker or a curve, as those two combinations are the most used. But adding another wrinkle to his strategic fabric could be valuable going into the second half. We just saw against Cincinnati how effective his changeup can be in bigger samples.