The O's are playing .950 ball when they get a quality start

Here is a pretty stunning stat: The Orioles have gotten a quality start this year from their pitchers 20 times and they are 19-1 in those games.

That is a winning percentage of .950.

But lately, Jake Arrieta has struggled to do that for the Birds.

If two starts qualifies as a slump, Arrieta may be in one. Since that dominant start May 2 at Yankee Stadium where he pitched eight scoreless against the Yankees, Arrieta did not pitch well against Texas and Tampa Bay.

Over those last two starts, in 10 innings, he has given up 19 hits and 13 runs while the opposing hitters batted .388 (19-for-49) against him.

Arrieta looked so good in seven scoreless on opening day against Minnesota and in that New York start, but in his other six starts this year, he has allowed four runs or more each time.

Arrieta can look so good at times that it just doesn't seem like he should have an ERA of 5.21 heading into tonight's start. In the first two innings this year, he has an ERA of 6.19.

Left-handed hitters have been having their way with him this year, batting .301 with an OPS of .867. Arrieta holds right-handed batters to an average of just .200. He has given up an average of .333 (13-for-39) with runners in scoring position.

Arrieta does have options remaining and I have heard no talk about the Orioles sending him back to the minors at all. But it wouldn't take him struggling much longer before some of that talk could surface.

We'll see how he fares tonight. In two starts against the Nationals, Arrieta is 0-1 with a 12.38 ERA and he has not completed five innings in either one. In six interleague starts, Arrieta is 2-3 with an 8.04 ERA. At the plate, he is 1-for-4 with one RBI.

Edwin Jackson, who is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.71, makes his eighth start of the year tonight for the Nationals. Jackson holds lefty hitters to a .246 average while right-handed batters are hitting just .194 against him. He has just three quality starts on the year.

In nine career games with seven starts against the Orioles, he is 5-1 with an ERA of 3.61 and a batting average against of .222.

Through three: Arrieta got off to a good start tonight in pursuit of that quality start. He allowed three singles but no runs over the first three innings as the O's took a 1-0 lead to the fourth tonight at Nats Park.

Arrieta has no walks and five strikeouts. He got Ryan Zimmerman looking to end the last of the third and strand a runner at second base. Arrieta has thrown 50 pitches over those first three frames.

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