Jake Arrieta admitted today that he's putting a lot of pressure on himself to turn in quality starts, which is hurting the cause.
Today, he allowed seven runs and a career-high 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.
"I think I need to relax a little bit and trust myself, because I'm more than capable of making good pitches when I need to get guys out," he said. "It's just a matter of going out there and doing it and not trying to do too much. Certain times I try to muscle it up and try to blow the ball by a guy and end up leaving it up, rather than just being good mechanically and executing down in the zone. I just need to get back to that. Take a little pressure off myself and go out there and pitch.
"I made a significant amount of quality pitches today. I think I only gave up one hit in a deep count. I think it was to (Carlos) Pena when he hit one of those doubles. I just really wasn't commanding the fastball down in the zone with guys on base in hitters counts. And I think it really comes down to four fastballs that were elevated with guys on base that they were able to put good swings on it. So, really the only thing I take away from it is I've just got to get the ball down, especially with guys on base in situations like that, because the breaking balls were good today and I had a good fastball. But when I needed to locate down in counts, and I knew they were going to be hacking, I couldn't do that."
The Orioles are still assured of finishing with a winning record over a brutal 15-game stretch.
"Overall, we're playing well on both sides of the ball," Arrieta said. "I've personally struggled a little bit, but I'm going to go out there and battle every time, no matter what the circumstances are, just like
everybody in the clubhouse. And it's nice to see we're getting a lot of timely hitting, we're playing great defense, our bullpen's outstanding. So, myself included, we just need to get a little bit better about going deep into games consistently and we're going to continue to play that kind of baseball."
Troy Patton struck out a career-high six batters in three innings, but he gave up back-to-back home runs to Elliot Johnson and Ben Zobrist in the eighth. Manager Buck Showalter admitted that he pushed Patton one inning farther than desired, but he was working with a thin bullpen and had no choice.
"It's kind of frustrating," Patton said. "I obviously had probably the best stuff I've had all season today and just threw one bad pitch after getting behind Elliot Johnson. He hit it straight up in the air, so I didn't really think that was going to go out, but after that, I kind of lost mental focus a little bit against Zobrist and Upton (who walked). Got it back and finished the inning, but it's really frustrating because I had good stuff today.
"It's usually a lot of fly balls, but I was striking some guys out today and working ahead for the most part, throwing good breaking balls and felt good. It was just those two runs ended up being the difference, which makes it sting a lot more."