On night Jake Arrieta returns to Camden Yards mound, Orioles' rotation gets pummeled again - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

On night Jake Arrieta returns to Camden Yards mound, Orioles’ rotation gets pummeled again

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

My plan was to write a little more about Jake Arrieta’s return to Camden Yards on Saturday night.

Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner whom the Orioles traded away in 2013, did his part to continue the narrative.

He lasted 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out three Orioles. He wasn’t dominant, but he was effective, and earned the win.

An effective starting pitching performance. Let that sink in.

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Because it’s just not something we’ve seen around here in weeks, months, years. OK, a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe the July Baltimore heat and the three-plus-hour Orioles’ beatdowns are melting my mind.

But it sure seems like a long time ago when the Orioles led the majors with a 22-10 record May 9, and they were buoyed in part, by a surprising rotation.

It seems like forever ago when lefty Wade Miley was among the AL ERA leaders in April.

On Saturday, Miley allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 10-3 pounding by the Chicago Cubs. He has allowed four earned runs or more in six of his last eight starts; he’s failed to pitch six full innings in any of those.

In the fourth and fifth innings Saturday, Miley picked up double plays and then struggled to get an out to finish either inning. He gave up two runs with two outs in the fourth and four runs with two outs in the fifth.

“In the fifth inning, got the two outs, got the double-play ball, and then it just snowballed. Kind of did the same thing in the fourth. I was able to manage it,” Miley said. “But, yeah, falling behind. Falling behind with two outs. Just not staying aggressive.”

His ERA has gone from 2.32 in his five April starts to 6.93 in the 14 starts since. Miley was asked the difference between having good numbers early and a bloated ERA now. To his credit, he didn’t pat himself on the back for his April starts.

“Were they that good, though? I was walking seven; I would call that more lucky. Everything in this game is result-oriented. Obviously, you smile and you’re happy because you walk away with a zero, (but) five innings, seven walks,” he said. “You take it, but at the same time, I think that might be where the problem is early on with me. I accepted that. And when those groundball double plays early in the year turned into doubles, the walks were scored. And that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I definitely feel better about my delivery, but you’ve got to keep working and fine-tune things.”

Miley’s season ERA sits at 5.40. And that’s still a better mark than starters Kevin Gausman (6.39), Ubaldo Jimenez (6.67) and Chris Tillman (7.90).

So, maybe it’s fitting that the Orioles’ starter struggled mightily on the night that Arrieta returned to the Camden Yards mound.

Arrieta, we all remember, struggled for several seasons with the Orioles before he was traded to Chicago, where he harnessed his talent.

And maybe that contrast shows just how far the Orioles need to go – as a rotation and a pitching organization – before they can experience what Arrieta did last year: A World Series title.

For his part, Arrieta talked post-game about how he enjoyed his experience in Baltimore, back then and on Saturday.

“Went to one of my favorite places to eat this morning. Just seeing some of the places I used to go all the time. We saw where we used to live. It’s a really cool feeling. It really is. Seeing the guys you used to play with. There’s still a lot of them over there. Playing here in Camden Yards, it’s one of the most beautiful parks in all of baseball, and it was just really cool. It really was,” Arrieta said.

“The fans were gracious. Some chirping in the bullpen before the game, which I expect. But, all in all, it was a great experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to play here for a few years. Now I’ve moved on to this phase of my career. But, you know, I wouldn’t trade the years I was here for anything. It was an enjoyable experience. I learned a lot, and I’m able to be the player I am today because of what I went through while I was in the organization.”

His old organization happens to be going through a lot right now – a freefall that has them at 42-48, a six-game-under-.500 nadir that equals their worst mark of the season.

The Orioles were looking for a fresh start in the second half.

Instead, they’ve given up 19 runs in two games.

All while getting a glimpse of what might have been.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. ATCguy

    July 15, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Sell… Sell… Sell…

    Yes, I realize the irony of saying to trade off / sell the team’s assets on a night when one of the assets they previously traded away came back home to beat ’em… and I hate being so negative about the team I’ve loved since I was a boy. But I don’t wanna be seeing the same thing in 2019-2020, and reading the same narrative as we have the past 3 or 4 years.

    We all know the colloquial definition of insanity: doing the same thing over & over, while expecting a different result.

  2. Camden Bird

    July 16, 2017 at 12:20 am

    You know, honestly, I hate it when the Orioles lose. I really, really do. It usually puts a damper on the rest of my night.

    And while I’m disappointed (but more angry) that the Orioles lost tonight, in some ways, I’m a tiny bit glad. I always want the Birds to do well; but in these extenuating circumstances, I will be slightly relieved if we go 2-8 or worse on this home stand.

    I know that sounds terrible. But maybe…just maybe…Angelos and Duquette will get it through their heads that this team needs a serious rebuild. Rather than letting pride and naivete cloud their judgment, maybe they will see that the Orioles, despite the fans and bloggers write that we’re still “only [such and such] games back from the Wild Card”, are nowhere close to being a playoff team. In order to make it, they would roughly need to have a better 2nd half of the season than the Astros did in the first half.

    Not. Gonna. Happen.

    Now, I say “hopefully” because to be frank, I have absolutely zero faith in Peter Angelos as an owner, and only a smidgen more than absolutely zero in Duquette as GM. I’ve been saying it all season long that Duquette is an extremely short-sighted GM who builds his teams for the here and now. He does not build or plan for the future (just look at his many head-scratching moves since 2015).

    What I’m hoping for is that, while painful and it goes against my nature as a die-hard O’s fan, the Orioles continue at this poor level of play until the trade deadline, deal Britton to LA and receive a king’s ransom of a haul in return. Over the offseason, Angelos gets a new GM who’s more in line with the Matt Silverman’s and Jeff Luhnow’s of the League. At the trade deadline next season, I would then trade Manny for yet another king’s ransom to really replenish the farm system. Hopefully, he would have the OK from Angelos to actually do something in the international market.

    I love the Orioles. I always have, and I always will. But I have zero faith in the way this franchise is run. It’s going to take some drastic changes from top to bottom in the Warehouse.

    Sorry for the long comment. I’m just so sick and tired and disgruntled at this front office. And it’s been this way since the ’90s. I wonder why that is.

  3. Osfan73

    July 16, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Maybe Jake’s effective performance yesterday finally sends that message to the right people how pitching poor the organization is and has been, that we must must must make it a priority long term going forward. And i’m not just talking about acquiring ones via trade and FA. But target, change, remake -insert whatever term you want- the drafting, scouting, and developement so as to start growing our own. I like the chase and signing the big name pitcher each off season but I would be more excited to start seeing us actually one day start to create that from within, and the sooner the better.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Watching the O’s starting staff this past month, has sort of like been watching Lucy & Ethel try to wrap the candy that is rolling past them on the conveyor belt at breakneck speed.

  5. Raymo

    July 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Boog: thanks for planting that image in my head. You crack me up.

    Camden Bird: I appreciate your observation that DD’s focus is on the here and now, with no plan for the future. I hadn’t considered that before, but in retrospect it seems fitting.

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