Arrieta struggles again as O's drop series finale to Rays

Jake Arrieta continued to frustrate and baffle Orioles fans and likely Baltimore coaches as well again today.

In his last start against Toronto, he retired the first six batters but then allowed runs in three straight innings. Today, he retired the first nine batters against Tampa Bay, but then allowed runs over the next two innings as the Orioles lost 8-4 to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Arrieta was not solely to blame for this loss as the Orioles made three more errors this afternoon and the bullpen allowed four runs after Arrieta left the contest.

The Orioles fall back out of a first-place tie with the Rays and drop to 30-24. The Orioles have now lost seven of their last eight and 10 of the past 13 games. They are 11-15 since May 7.

Through May 20, the Orioles had lost just three of the season's first 14 series. Now they have lost four in a row to Boston, Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Arrieta falls to 2-7 with an ERA of 5.53 over 12 starts. He has just one win since he looked so great in beating Minnesota on opening day and has allowed four runs or more in nine starts.

Here are some other numbers on Arrieta:
* Over his last six starts, he is 0-5 with an ERA of 7.96.

* Since pitching to an ERA of 2.66 in his first three starts this year, he is 1-7 with an ERA of 6.70 over his past nine starts.

* In two starts against Tampa Bay, he has allowed 11 earned runs over 8 1/3 innings.

* Arrieta has begun to struggle with his control, walking four today and 10 over 14 2/3 innings his past three starts. Before that, he walked two or less in eight of his first nine starts.

* This was the sixth time this year he pitched fewer than six innings and the third time in a row.

The Orioles have to be very concerned about one of their top young pitchers who right now looks more like a pitcher that could need some time to work on things at Triple-A Norfolk than an opening day starter.

The Orioles have not scored many runs this year for Arrieta and they have not scored many recently for anyone. They now have plated just 20 runs over the last eight games.

Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds each hit solo homers with three hits and two RBIs apiece in the loss. For Reynolds, it was his first homer since May 5. Wieters entered this series with just three hits over his past 42 at-bats and went 6-for-12 over the last three days.

The Orioles reached the one-third point of the season this afternoon with game No. 54 and are on a 90-win pace. But they are now 1-5 on this road trip and will take tomorrow off before beginning a series on Tuesday night at Boston.

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