Rotating concerns among Orioles starters (updated twice)

The Orioles really need Thursday’s off day to slow their world from spinning out of control.

Jeremy Guthrie has allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings to the Pirates, who couldn’t get out of their own way last night. His last start was cut short by a strained muscle in his back, and his command isn’t up to the normal standards. The only encouraging sign is his fastball has hit the mid-90s, so velocity doesn’t appear to be an issue.

Jeremy-Guthrie_WindUp-White-Tall.gifTake the small victories wherever you can find them.

Brian Matusz left his last start with cramping in his hamstring, and we’re still waiting for him to look like the same pitcher who went 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his final eight starts of 2010.

Chris Tillman remains at Triple-A Norfolk. Brad Bergesen is hunkered down in the Orioles’ bullpen. And now comes the disturbing news that Jake Arrieta isn’t 100 percent physically.

Manager Buck Showalter didn’t spill the beans to reporters in Pittsburgh, but it’s either the elbow or the hip. Showalter alluded to previous health issues. Arrieta had a sore hip earlier this season, and he declined to have a bone spur removed from his right elbow last year.

I still don’t understand why he avoided the procedure, other than the typical fear that comes with any surgery, especially when it involves a pitcher’s elbow.

We’re left to guess whether he labored last night because of his hip or elbow - along with the heat that wore him down early. And we’re left to wonder why these things keep happening to the Orioles.

I didn’t even mention Dan Klein in this entry. Of course he has a tear in his labrum. Like we didn’t see that coming. I dropped a pretty strong hint last week.

An Orioles pitching prospect with an injury? I’ll go to sleep tonight with visions of Beau Hale and Richard Stahl and Chris Smith and Adam Loewen dancing in my head. And there’s plenty of room for the others.

At least the Orioles are trying to bail out Guthrie tonight. Home runs by J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in the fifth inning have reduced the Pirates’ lead to 5-3.

Hardy has nine home runs, and the latest comes a few hours after the Orioles confirmed that Brian Roberts won’t return before the All-Star break. At least we know that the leadoff spot is in good, powerful hands.

Does this qualify as positive news? Around here, you wonder if it took a wrong turn and accidentally cut through the wrong neighborhood.

Update: Guthrie is done after 6 1/3 innings, his last frame prolonged by Mark Reynolds’ 16th error. So far, he’s charged with six runs and 11 hits. The bases are still loaded with one out, and Brad Bergesen will try to stop the bleeding.

Guthrie did a nice job of holding down the Pirates and giving the Orioles a chance to rally.

Update II: Bergesen got a double play to end the inning. One of the six runs off Guthrie is unearned.

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