TONIGHT: O's call on McDonald to secure rarest of species--the series win

May 22, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

DETROIT VZB — DETROIT -- With a chance to win a series for the first time in 11 tries, the Orioles will be looking to Ben McDonald to send them in a new direction tonight.

They will also be trying to win two in a row for the first time since May 3 before returning home for a six-game home stand against New York and Cleveland.

McDonald (2-2, 5.52) will face Detroit righthander Bill Gullickson (4-2, 4.89) as the Orioles and Tigers conclude their series here tonight (7:35, HTS).

McDonald, who started the season on the disabled list and has been inconsistent in his six starts, will be looking for his second straight win. He pitched a complete-game six-hitter in a 5-1 win over California last Friday and the Orioles desperately need the big righthander to establish himself as the club's No. 1 starter.

"The next step is for him to build on his last outing," said pitching coach Al Jackson.

There are two things in particular the Orioles will be looking for from McDonald.

They would like to see him throw his best fastball with more consistency and also see him establish his curveball to the point where it gives the hitters another pitch to think about. In his previous outings, McDonald has used his breaking pitch only occasionally and it has not been effective because of control difficulties.

The Orioles, meanwhile, desperately need to establish consistency some way other than losing. Last night's 5-4 win gives hope that the Orioles bats might be ready to come around. Not since the Orioles took two out of three from Texas April 12-14 have they been able to win a series, and they have managed to split only two of their last 10.

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