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June 5, 2011

Some accountability goes a long way

Mark Reynolds was the hero in Saturday night’s 5-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays, but one of the more interesting developments occurred after the game.

Jake Arrieta registered a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings to get his seventh win of the season, which ties him for the AL lead.

But, honestly, his outing was anything but quality. He threw 80 pitches in the first four innings. His defense bailed him out of several tight spots. He gave up just five hits in six innings, but he walked four guys – the sixth straight time he has walked three or more.

Afterward, Arrieta didn’t hide behind the quality start distinction.

“My outing, it was pretty ugly to be honest with you,” he said.

In each of Zach Britton’s past two poor performances, the rookie admitted he simply didn’t get it done. And now Arrieta is pointing the finger inward.

It’s refreshing, because I can’t tell you how many times over the years that I’ve heard an Orioles pitcher throw a mediocre to bad game and then talk about how he pitched well and just came up short.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has preached accountability to this team and these young guys seem to be listening. Arrieta met with pitching coach Mark Connor after his “quality start” on Saturday, reviewed video and talked about how he could have been more effective. And this was a win, remember.

Even better: Arrieta said that after the Jays scored a run in the fourth, which was set up by two Rajai Davis stolen bases, catcher Matt Wieters approached Arrieta about not keeping Davis closer. And Arrieta said he liked the rebuke.

“Wieters gets on me quite a bit. He’s kind of like my older brother, but I think I’m actually older than him (by two months),” Arrieta said. “But he works with me a lot out there. In between innings he will come in, and he told me in the 5th, he’s like you gave up a run … that you shouldn’t have given up there in the 4th inning. … It’s nice to have him make comments like that and know that you just got to do a better job next time.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:04 AM | | Comments (0)

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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