The Orioles tied their season high with their fourth straight victory.
Jake Arrieta improved to 6-2 with a 4.57 ERA. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but he got the job done.
“Stuff-wise, he was good,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just gets out of sorts some and loses command for a while. He’s fortunate to get through six innings. He worked himself into some trouble. Would you take six innings and two runs every night? Probably. But he’s kind of a victim of his potential to do even better. He’s 6-2 and he’s only had a couple bad outings where he didn’t give us a good chance to win.”
Arrieta threw 46 pitches over the first two innings, so getting through the sixth was a victory in itself.
“It wasn’t like they were centering him up,” Showalter said. “He just couldn’t get into a rhythm where he was repeating his delivery and repeating pitches where he wanted to throw them. I thought Matt (Wieters) did a great job with him. You see the first hitter, it looked like he was going to be aggressive with his fastball. He was carrying a good fastball tonight and you think he’s on his way, and then he gets out of whack. He had baserunners almost every inning.
“I don’t want to sit here and pick on his outing. It was pretty good, OK? In the major leagues against a team that’s a pretty good offensive team. But like I say, he’s kind of a victim of his potential and his stuff. It’s probably not fair to him, wanting more, but it’s there. And sometimes I’m not sure if Jake knows how good he can be.”
The offense takes good care of Arrieta, unlike other members of the rotation. He’s been on the mound three of the six times that the Orioles have scored eight runs or more.
“Nature of the game,” Showalter said. “I’m sure it will change and I’m sure if you look through it, Jake may have had some outings where it wasn’t always the case. Other pitchers have got to cooperate with you. That’s tough. It usually levels out over the course of a season. If it doesn’t, what do you do? Do you stop and say, ‘What the heck? It’s useless.’ That word never comes into play here at this level. It better not. That’s one reason why they’re at this level.”
The Orioles scored eight runs in the fourth, their biggest outburst of the season. And it came without their leadoff and No. 3 hitters, Brian Roberts and Derrek Lee, who remain on the disabled list.
“I know we’re missing two guys that we know we feel like if they’re on the field, they make us even better,” Showalter said. “There were a lot of good at-bats from people all through the order in that inning and didn’t give in to, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ They didn’t have emotional at-bats. They knew the guy (Luke Hochevar) was struggling a little bit with his command. Hopefully, it bodes well for us when we get all our bullets.”
Jones is batting .375 with 14 RBIs in his last 21 games since May 2. He has multiple hits in 10 of those games. He’s batting .390 with nine extra-base hits in his last 14 games.
“When Adam trusts himself and lets the ball travel, very seldom do they get him out,” Showalter said. “It’s like most good hitters. He’s hitting close to .300 and playing center field at a Gold Glove level and his effort is platinum right now, his effort level. It’s fun to watch Adam play.”
I’ll leave you with this quote from Showalter. I think the last line belongs on a T-shirt or a sign hung on a wall in the tunnel leading to the dugout. See if you agree.
“We have some nights where we have to be reminded of the things we have to do. We’ve talked about it a lot. What are you really willing to do to sweat the things that could be the difference in getting us to the next level? It’s not a sometimes thing. It’s an every night thing. Effort and playing smart should never go into a slump.”