The Orioles didn’t have any quit in them today, but they didn’t have a comeback, either.
Oh sure, they made it close, losing 9-8 to the Rays before 29,552 at Camden Yards after falling behind 7-1. They just couldn’t get over the hump.
Jake Arrieta put them in a big hole by allowing seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. His early departure further taxed a short bullpen.
“I think it’s the command of the fastball,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I don’t think it’s real complicated. Command the fastball at this level with his stuff, you’ve got a chance to have success, and that’s pretty much a direct correlation when he pitches well and when he has some struggles.”
The Orioles needed Arrieta to go deep into the game whether he had good stuff or not, but he couldn’t do it.
“He has,” Showalter said. “He’s done it before. He did it his last outing. Jake’s capable of better and I know that’s what frustrates him somewhat.
“We’re trying to stay away from the situation we got into today, where we had to pitch Troy (Patton) an extra inning or so. That’s where getting deep in the games comes into play. Hopefully, we’ll get J.J. (Jim Johnson) and (Pedro) Strop and (Luis) Ayala back tomorrow and see what we can do.”
The Orioles showed character by getting within one run twice after the Rays appeared to pull away.
“I don’t think it surprises anybody, especially me,” Showalter said. “There’s a good air in the dugout from the first inning on. It’s been that way since opening day. They feel like as a group they can overcome some things.
“Pitching’s hard to do, one of the hardest things to do in professional sports. And to be consistent pitching, that’s what everybody’s looking for as a team and as individuals. Our guys tried to overcome it today and came real close to doing it.”
The Orioles remain in first place, and they’re 12-6 against the American League East. Is Showalter satisfied?
“I don’t like the word ‘satisfied,’” he replied. “We know what the job description is here at the end of the day - to win. I’m real proud of them. I’ve been proud of them since we went to camp, so whatever happened here today and what didn’t and what did, when they walk out the door, there’s another challenge coming in tomorrow and the next day and the next day. It’s just part of the job description.
“Nothing happened on that field today that I didn’t expect to happen. Not necessarily physically, but just the mental side of it. It’s a good group.
“This game’s human beings and see what’s in store the next day and you deal with it and you move on. We’ve got some moving parts because of the injuries and I think we’ve handled that well mentally. It’s not a topic of conversation. I’m proud that we’ve been able to withstand some of the challenges that everybody has over the course of a season. We’ll get them healthy and maybe find some good things while we’re waiting.”