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Is Arrieta the latest Orioles concern?

With how bad the Orioles' pitching has been -- and that trend certainly continued in the 10-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox tonight -- it's probably unfair to single out Jake Arrieta's recent struggles.

But as of about two weeks ago, Arrieta was perhaps one of a handful of positives to come out of the Orioles' dreadful first half. But I'm not sure that can be said anymore, or at least as strongly.

The young right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks while striking out one in 4 1/3 innings tonight. Everybody wants to look at Arrieta's staff-leading nine wins, and that's fine, though it has to be pointed out that he entered tonight's start receiving the fourth-best run support in the American League at 6.87 runs per game.

But you also have to consider that after 18 starts, he now has a 4.90 ERA. He has gone five innings or fewer in three consecutive starts and hasn't gone beyond six innings in 15 of his 18 outings. He has also walked three batters or more in 10 games this season.

"Jake is out there, and you can see it. His tempo slows down, the wheels start turning," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think he’s overthinking a lot of things and he’s just not getting in the rhythm of throwing the ball over the plate and trusting his stuff. It’s just not very good right now."

Arrieta has been dealing with elbow troubles related to a bone spur for the past couple of weeks. His velocity has been pretty good in his past two starts, but his command has certainly sputtered at times.

"One of the only things I can control is going out there every fifth day and keeping us competitive and keeping us in the game," Arrieta said. "The last three starts, I really haven’t been able to do that, and that’s not me, that’s not the pitcher or the kind of guy I am. So, just got to do whatever I can and try to get back to where I need to be and help the team in any way possible."

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