A change of leagues has brought prosperity to Scott Sanderson.
A National Leaguer since he broke in with the Montreal Expos in 1978, Sanderson has spent the last two years in the AL. At the age of 34 last year, he won a career-high 17 games with the Oakland A's.
Sold to the New York Yankees last December, Sanderson comes into tonight's game against the Orioles' Bob Milacki with 14 victories this year. Only once in the National League, in 1980, did he win as many as 14.
"The man knows how to pitch," said Orioles batting coach Tom McCraw. "He mixes 'em up. You know what they say: Hitting is timing and pitching is messing up that timing. Sanderson does ** that well."
Arthur Rhodes (0-2) will face the Yankees' Eric Plunk (2-3) tomorrow night and Mike Mussina (2-4) will oppose Wade Taylor (7-8) Wednesday night.
Manager John Oates had said he expected to go with a rotation of M's -- McDonald, Mussina, Mesa and Milacki -- the rest of the season. He inserted Rhodes tonight, and will probably start him BTC again Sunday, because the Orioles are in a stretch of 13 games in as many days.
The Orioles' home record is 22-47, leaving them close to tying the club record of most losses in one season, 51 in 1987. They must win at least 10 of their remaining 13 home games to avoid matching the record.
The Orioles concluded play for the year against AL West teams when they bowed to the Kansas City Royals yesterday. That is just as well, since their 34-50 record marks only their second losing season against the AL West since divisional play began in 1969.
All of the Orioles' remaining games are against AL East clubs. Alas, that prospect doesn't suggest a reversal of fortune. The Orioles are 21-31 against the East.