ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Jose Mesa faces the Texas Rangers for the second time in a week here tonight (8:35, Ch. 2), don't expect to see any change in style.
There is usually a period of adjustment and readjustment for both hitters and pitchers at the major-league level. That is especially true when they have faced each other twice within a short span of time.
But Orioles manager John Oates doesn't want Mesa (5-8, 5.40) to alter his approach. "You should always pitch to your strength," said Oates, "and he's had trouble against them [the Rangers] by doing that. He should go after them the same way he did last week [a three-hit, nine-strikeout, 9-2 win].
"If you always pitch to a hitter's weakness the whole game, you wind up losing," said Oates. "Sometimes there are situations where you have to make sure a hitter doesn't get a certain pitch, but if that pitch is your strength and you stay away from it, eventually it will catch up with you."
Mesa rejoined the Orioles last week after spending a couple of months retooling his game in Rochester. When he came back, he brought with him a new pitch -- the "slurve" -- that actually replaced two other pitches.
"He was throwing both a curve and slider before," said Oates. "He's gotten away from both of them and is now throwing a breaking ball that appears to be a combination of the two."
Mesa's opponent tonight will be Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, who will be making his sixth start in an attempt to win his first game for the Rangers. Boyd (0-4, 8.10) was obtained last month from Montreal in an effort to bolster the Rangers' starting rotation, but the righthander has floundered along with his new team.