Talking about Lee and Arrieta

It’s happening so quietly, it’s barely making a sound. Imagine a mouse wearing fuzzy slippers, or a cloud wearing ... fuzzy slippers.

OK, that’s probably not working for you.

Derrek Lee has raised his average from .209 to .255 in his last 11 games. He’s got 15 hits during that stretch, and five multi-hit games in his last 10.

Has anyone noticed?

Perhaps it would be more obvious if baseballs were crashing into the bleachers.

Lee went 2-for-5 last night in the Orioles’ 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Royals. The average is climbing. Now he needs to make more noise.

I’m not saying that Nick Markakis had a play at the plate on Jeff Francoeur’s sacrifice fly in the 10th, but that’s the first throw I can remember from the Orioles right fielder that didn’t find its mark. His accuracy is uncanny. If you put a penny on the plate, Markakis will hit it on one bounce. Last night’s throw wasn’t close.

Jake Arrieta, who takes the mound tonight, has gone six innings in four of his six starts. He needs to keep his pitch count down and push through that wall, especially after Brad Bergesen went five innings last night.

Manager Buck Showalter said after last night’s game that his bullpen was in “pretty good shape,” but he can’t keep running relievers out there. The starters need to be more economical with their pitches. They need to find a way to get more first-pitch outs and more swings and misses, as opposed to the string of foul balls that prolong innings.

As Showalter said during his post-game interview on MASN, “You’ve got to have something to put some people away with. The one thing we haven’t done well when the count’s in our favor is finish off the hitters.”

Arrieta has allowed three runs or fewer in five of his six starts, but his 3-1 record is accompanied by a 5.01 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

In his only previous start against the Royals, Arrieta gave up three runs and six hits, with five walks and four strikeouts, in 4 1/3 innings.

Here’s an oddity: Left-handers are batting .206 against Arrieta this season, while right-handers are batting .295.

By the way, Showalter laid off Jim Johnson last night because the right-hander had thrown four of the last seven days.

Asked if second baseman Brian Roberts will return to the lineup tonight, Showalter replied, “We hope so. If I know him, he’s got a chance.”

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