The Orioles could get a better indication of the condition of their pitching staff during this weekend's series against the Texas Rangers.
Jeff Robinson (0-1, 22.50 earned run average) needs a solid outing tonight to solidify his position in the starting rotation. After lasting only two innings against the Rangers in a 15-3 loss last Sunday, Robinson went back to the drawing board with pitching coach Al Jackson this week.
"He threw twice between starts this time, and we worked on a few things," Jackson said. The one thing everybody agrees on is that the righthander has to throw a higher percentage of strikes.
TC Robinson's opponent will be lefthander Kenny Rogers (0-1, 33.75) who is battling an even bigger ERA bulge.
Tomorrow, in the first of four Saturday afternoon home games for the Orioles, Jose Mesa (1-1, 3.18) will face baseball's all-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan (1-1, 5.14). Ryan was the winner in the 15-3 rout, his first win over the Orioles in 15 years. Tomorrow he will be going for his first win at Memorial Stadium in 16 years.
Orioles manager Frank Robinson won't decide until today on his starter for Sunday's game against Kevin Brown (1-1, 5.06). If Dave Johnson (1-1, 5.23) comes back after three days rest, that would allow Ben McDonald to jump into Monday night's assignment in Chicago without further disrupting the rotation.
Sunday's game starts at 2:35 and will be preceded by the Heroes of Baseball Game, featuring a team of former Oriole greats and a collection of stars who ranked as "Oriole Killers" during their career. Reggie Jackson, who played one year (1976) in Baltimore, is a late addition to the team that will face the former Orioles, including Boog Powell, Davey Johnson and Mike Cuellar.