Orioles Drop Series to Rays: Struggles come to a head with Arrieta on the mound…

It has been a struggle for the Baltimore Orioles the past two weeks, and on Sunday they lost again to the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-4. They have fallen out of first place – again – and are a game behind the Rays at 30-24.

Sadly, the Orioles have lost nine out of twelve series and have dropped four consecutive series.

Jake Arrieta – who started on the mound Sunday for Baltimore – has had an up-and-down year, and he struggled once again with inconsistency. Tampa tagged Baltimore for eight runs total in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and they roughed up Arrieta, plus the bullpen – mainly long reliever Dana Eveland and Luis Ayala – pretty good at the point.

The crazy thing is that Arrieta was dealing on the mound for the first three frames and then just totally lost it. He only lasted 4 2/3 innings, gave up four runs – all earned, walked four and gave up two hits.

Eveland and Ayala gave up four runs in a span of an inning plus. The Orioles were down 8-1 after six innings, and at that point, the game was out of hand.

Baltimore’s offense again was sputtering at points; however, both Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds hit solo home runs in the game Sunday. Then again, despite the power from two guys who had been struggling, they left eleven men on base and were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Not good.

If there was any good news from Sunday, J.J. Hardy, Wieters and Reynolds had three hits each.

Tampa’s Matt Moore – who also has been struggling this season – earned the win for Tampa Bay, as he gave up two runs in six innings.

At this point, if the Orioles are going to compete in the division, they need to get their act on the mound – and at the plate together. The lack of consistency we’ve seen is nerve-wracking and painful to watch; however, the bright side is that the Orioles have not been buried yet at all and still are in the thick of things in the American League East.

The Orioles have the day off on Monday, but get back into action in a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.