Anderson shuts door, hoping to close Tigers' struggling start

April 20, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Yesterday's loss to the Orioles was the 10th in 13 games for the Detroit Tigers, which equals their 1989 start, which matched their worst since 1959.

After the game, manager Sparky Anderson had a team meeting, which neither he nor his players would discuss in other than general terms. "I wasn't surprised to have something said to us," said shortstop Alan Trammell.

Anderson had only one comment about the Tigers' slow start. "Thank God, I'm in my 23rd year [of managing] and not my first," said Anderson, who was lavish in his praise of the Orioles' pitching in this series.

"[Bob] Milacki pitched awfully well," he added. "He had good stuff, and so did [Gregg] Olson. They've got good pitching. I think you're going to see that all year from them."

The Tigers win and lose by home runs, which have come sporadically of late, though Mickey Tettleton and Travis Fryman hit bases-empty shots yesterday.

"The home runs are going to come," Trammell said. "It's a matter of sustaining rallies. We haven't been able to do that at all this series. We haven't started hitting the way we're capable of. It's frustrating.

"We're not in a good position, but, hopefully, it will turn around. Right now, it's pretty ugly."

Trammell went 0-for-4 against Milacki yesterday, recording his first two strikeouts of the year in the process. Trammell is 2-for-30 lifetime (.067) against Milacki, a statistic he was unaware of until after the game.

"I didn't know what my statistics were against him," said Trammell. "Usually I only pay attention to statistics like that against relief pitchers.

"I know he's pitched some good games against us. He's got a good changeup, and he mixes his pitches up well. I felt good up there, but he made some good pitches.

"The only at-bat I'd like to have back is the last one," Trammell said, referring to a double-play grounder that ended the eighth inning. "I swung at a bad pitch."

Milacki is mystified by his success against Trammell. "I don't try to do anything super fancy," he said. "I just try to go right after him, keep the ball away, change speeds and mix it up."

Just your basic "how to" program.

Milacki started his major-league career with a pair of strong games against the Tigers in 1988 and at one point had a 4-2 record against them with a 2.06 ERA. But yesterday's win broke a four-game losing streak against the Tigers, bringing his career mark against them to 6-5.

The third straight win gives the Orioles their first series win over the Tigers since April 19-22, 1990. It also marks the latest the Orioles (6-5) have been over .500 in almost two years (April 23, 1990).

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