11:11 PM EDT, May 8, 2012
For the Orioles, the best thing about Josh Hamilton's amazing four-homer performance on Tuesday night was the way it let everyone focus on something other than the sudden deterioration of the starting rotation.
Jake Arrieta became the third straight O's starter to go up in smoke on Tuesday, giving up six earned runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings. The only thing positive about it was that he settled down after Hamilton and Beltre hit back-to-back homers in the third inning and worked into the seventh to keep the bullpen from getting stretched out again.
Funny how quickly the world can turn over when you're on top of it. The Orioles entered Tuesday night's game still tied for the best record in baseball and came out of the game wondering which is the real O's rotation -- this one or the one that looked so impressive all through the first month of the season.
It's too early to panic, but it's not too early to be concerned, especially with the Orioles forced to open the Tampa Bay Rays series on Friday with journeyman left-hander Dana Eveland and both Arrieta and Brian Matusz needing to bounce back from tough outings in the remaining two games against the team that currently is the Orioles' top division rival.