Jake Arrieta dominated the Pirates, striking out nine and walking one while allowing one run over seven innings, and the Orioles blasted Kevin Correia for five runs (four earned) as the Bucs lost 7-1 on Wednesday.
During last night's game, the Orioles' broadcast team displayed a graphic listing the teams that had been struck out 10 or more times in the most games this season, and I was very surprised to see that the Pirates weren't particularly close to the top of the list. I guess these are just the pitcher-dominated times we live in. In fact, going into tonight's game, the Bucs only ranked sixth in the majors in offensive strikeouts, although a lot of that has to do with their own poor on-base percentage limiting their number of opportunities to strike out. Anyway, it's very frustrating to watch the Pirates allow Jake Arrieta to tie a career high in strikeouts.
The Orioles scored one in the first on an RBI double by Chris Davis that narrowly missed clearing the fence. Then in the second, it was an RBI double by Wilson Betemit that dropped by the warning track, and then Steve Pearce spiked a run-scoring single up the middle.
Then in the fourth, Mark Reynolds hit a double to left and advanced to third when Alex Presley couldn't field it cleanly. He came home on Betemit's sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Wilson Betemit hit a homer over the high wall in right to make it 5-0. Correia left after the inning was over. The Pirates got one back in the top of the seventh on singles by Jose Tabata and Neil Walker and a groundout by Neil Walker, but the Orioles took two more on the bottom of the inning when Tony Watson allowed a J.J. Hardy single and then a broken-bat home run by the ridiculously powerful Chris Davis. (Most of Davis' bat flew into the Orioles dugout, where, luckily, his teammates managed to see it and duck despite watching the path of the ball. Davis really could have given new meaning to the phrase "two birds with one stone" if they'd been just a bit less aware.)
Anyway, I'm not quite sure how things will shake out with Brad Lincoln not exactly nailing down his own rotation job, with Jeff Karstens' rehab, and with Rudy Owens and Jeff Locke, but Correia is pretty clearly playing his way out of the Pirates' rotation. It wouldn't shock me if this turned out to be his last start for the Pirates, one way or another. It's just a matter of how the Pirates want to handle the transition. Correia really ought to lose his job, having struck out a measly 25 batters in 69 innings, while allowing 12 home runs.
If you're of the mind that the Pirates are legitimate contenders, then I'm not sure how you can defend the idea that Correia ought to be out there. Good teams shouldn't have to put up with this kind of performance, particularly when there's really no shortage of other options. And if you're of the mind that the Pirates aren't legit contenders, then Correia's presence is probably even less defensible. I'm no great fan of Rudy Owens, but by all means, let's take a look at Rudy Owens.