By Dan Connolly,
BALTIMORE — When Jake Arrieta was named the Baltimore Orioles’ opening day starter, he talked about the magnitude of the honor and the responsibility it carried.
Feeling fully recovered from August elbow surgery, Arrieta said he was ready for the role, that he cherished it. He went out that April afternoon and twirled a two-hit shutout, backing up his words with his talented right arm.
Two months later, after a 9-4 shellacking Friday night by the Philadelphia Phillies that arguably was the worst outing his career, Arrieta’s spot in the rotation is exceptionally tenuous. With the team needing to make a roster move to recall Saturday’s expected starter Tommy Hunter, a demotion of Arrieta seems likely.
The 26-year-old has looked lost for much of the season, but Friday, before an announced crowd of 40,459, he seemingly hit his nadir, giving up a career-high 11 hits and a career-worst nine runs in just four innings.
After surrendering a run on three softly struck singles in the first, Arrieta imploded in the second with some help from his shoddy defense.
The Phillies, who had lost six straight and hadn’t scored more than four runs in any of those games, scored six runs in the second inning while hitting for a team cycle — and then some. The Phillies strung together a hit batsman, a single, three doubles, a triple and a homer — by former Oriole farmhand Mike Fontenot, his first of the year.
The Orioles weren’t charged with an error in the inning, but shortstop J.J. Hardy and left fielder Endy Chavez allowed a foul ball to drop in between them; first baseman Mark Reynolds couldn’t handle a hard smash by Shane Victorino that went for a two-run double; and center fielder Adam Jones failed to cut off a ball that went to the wall and permitted Juan Pierre to pick up a triple.
— Baltimore Sun