DETROIT – Orioles manager Buck Showater is never one to overanalyze his players, so it was interesting to hear him say that right-hander Jake Arrieta was "lucky" that the Orioles' 5-1 loss to Detroit was being played in Comerica Park's expansive outfield and not Camden Yards.
Arrieta was leaving his fastball up. And while the Tigers jumped on Arrieta's mistakes, Showalter said it could have been uglier in a more hitter-friendly park.
"He's lucky," Showalter said. "At our place and a few other places, it'd been really tough."
After allowing a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera three hitters into the game, Jhonny Peralta's leadoff double one-hopped the fence in right-center field. That surely would have been gone at Camden Yards.
It's safe to say that given his recent body of work (15 combined runs in his last two starts at Norfolk), it was a surprise that Arrieta received this opportunity. But I don't think it was a surprise that he was sent down this quickly after a disappointing outing.
In five big league starts this season, Arrieta has a 7.23 ERA. He hasn't gone more than five innings in any of those outings and he entered Monday with 20 strikeouts and 16 walks. The one positive was that for the first time he didn't walk anyone – his one pass was intentional – but that's a fleeting accomplishment when you're getting hit around.
The Orioles could take positives out of the relief work of Troy Patton and Pedro Strop, who both had scoreless outings. For Strop, it was his first outing since Wednesday, when he allowed four runs and was the target of loud boos at Camden Yards.
Strop showed a little bit of his old self, striking out Peralta and Avisail Garcia swinging with dominating stuff.
Showalter acknowledged that he will need to rebuild Strop to the point he can be placed in pressure situations again, but added that he's still going to remain a key piece of the bullpen.
“With Pete, stuff is never the question,” Showalter said. “It’s just command and I think he’s going to have to get to the point where he’s comfortable pitching in all type of environments. So he’s got to start somewhere. He threw the ball well tonight and hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. We’re going to need him. We’re going to need that right-handed arm down there to take some of the load off our guys.”