Checking in some Orioles topics after the Birds lost Game 1 of a weekend series with the Phillies, 9-6, last night.
Arrieta's struggles: It is hard to believe the pitcher I saw pitch seven shutout innings on opening day in Baltimore in April was the same guy on the same mound last night. But he was, and Jake Arrieta has struggled badly since beginning the year with a 2.66 ERA in his first three starts.
Then, he looked like a young pitcher starting to blossom and finally realizing his potential. Last night, he admitted he's just lost out there right now.
It certainly appears that Arrieta needs to go back to Triple-A right now, maybe more for the mental break it can provide, as much as any physical improvements he can make with his mechanics and command.
Arrieta has been hearing so much of how his stuff is so good and how his ability is solid that maybe those expectations are becoming a burden to him. I think being back in the minors is not what he wants right now but may be what he truly needs. Take some time away from the pressure of trying to put it together in the majors and just relax and get back to what he can do well in a less pressurized atmosphere.
I am pretty sure we have not seen the last of Arrieta in Baltimore or the last of Arrieta showing the talent that we have seen him display.
Strange four days on the mound: On Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston, the Orioles starters, Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel, combined to give up just two earned runs over 12 innings. The last two games, Brian Matusz and Arrieta combined to give up 13 earned runs over just six innings. The O's bullpen was needed for 11 innings in those two games. They've now gone through two long relievers the last two days in Miguel Gonzalez and Dana Eveland. Those two helped preserve the bullpen to battle another day, but the O's could sure use a long outing from Tommy Hunter this afternoon.
Wieters' bat is back: It was just a few days ago that there was much concern among the fan base about the extended slump of catcher Matt Wieters. He went through a 3-for-42 stretch and a 19-game run where he was just 7-for-64.
Wieters' averaged dropped to .226, but now it is back up to .246 after his two-hit game last night. Over his past seven games, Wieters has three more hits than he had in that 19-game stretch, going 10-for-27 for a .370 average.
I think all the theories that Wieters' leg lift was an issue and that he was struggling to get to the fastball were just what it looked like as he went through nothing that was more than a good, old-fashioned slump.
He's out of it now, and Wieters is back on track at the plate.