Brief angst over Arrieta (much more in 2nd)

If you’re an Orioles fan and you’re watching tonight’s game, I bet you flinched in the top of the first inning.

Or maybe you experienced a brief panic attack.

Jake Arrieta struck out the first two Nationals on 94 and 96 mph fastballs. Laynce Nix followed with a sharp one-hopper that caromed off Arrieta’s right shin and rolled to the left side of the infield for a single.

Visions of Brad Bergesen dancing in your heads?

Arrieta was fine. Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells moved to the top step of the dugout, but he never came on the field. Arrieta took a few warmup tosses and continued, giving up a single to Jayson Werth and retiring Matt Stairs on a fly ball to left on another 94 mph fastball.

Laynce? Jayson? Are standard spellings prohibited in those households? (Yes, I’m aware that “Roch” is asking the question.)

I’ll close this entry with further proof that manager Buck Showalter doesn’t mind reaching into the cage and poking the big dogs in the division.

If you expected him to start backing down after the controversy this spring over his Men’s Journal interview, well, guess again. Showalter offered this gem after being asked about Nick Markakis’ at-bat in the ninth inning last night with the Orioles trailing by a huge margin.

(Trust me, the response doesn’t really match the question, and nobody in the room minded.)

“Contrary to popular belief, every time the Yankees get hit by a pitch, it’s not intentional,” he said during today’s pregame session with the media. “Every time they take a pitch, it’s not a ball, either.”

Duly noted.

Update: Arrieta threw 37 pitches in the second inning and served up Danny Espinosa’s three-run homer after walking the first two batters. Espinosa entered the game with a .194 average, but his 25 RBIs lead all rookies. The home run was No. 6 on the season.

Arrieta has thrown 58 pitches, including 39 for strikes, in only two innings.

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