Loss of command detours Rhodes
If Arthur Rhodes' recent ineffectiveness can be summed up in a few words, Orioles manager Johnny Oates says it is lack of command.
"That is what's missing," Oates said. "He threw 116 pitches [only 61 for strikes] in 4 1/3 innings the other night."
Rhodes, a 22-year-old left-hander, surrendered three earned runs the California Angels on Monday night and was branded with the 5-2 loss, his fourth straight. It evened his record at 4-4 after a 4-0 start following his recall from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings on June 8.
To Oates, this isn't a mystery.
"He's young and still growing," Oates said. "We can expect too much of a person. Do you expect him to be 20-0? It takes time.
"There is no comparison between his pitching now and when he was called up last season. He's a much better pitcher now. Then, we hoped he'd get people out, and he couldn't get out of the fourth inning. This year he has experience and can get people out."
In his 4-0 start over five appearances, Rhodes compiled a 2.19 ERA. In losing his past four starts, he has allowed 19 earned runs in 19 innings, a 9.00 ERA.
Rhodes' undoing Monday was a three-run fifth inning in which he walked the leadoff batter, Luis Polonia. Shortstop Cal Ripken's error made one of the runs unearned.
"You can't walk those type guys to lead off an inning," Oates said. "It sets the tone for the whole inning. The bottom line is Rhodes has to throw more strikes."
Orioles players and front-office officials, plus friends and other American League clubs, have made an initial donation of $100,000 to the Sam Hulett Fund, established in memory of the son of Tim and Linda Hulett.
Cal and Kelly Ripken alone contributed $50,000, to be spread over five years.
"Cal and I felt in our hearts this was something we wanted to do," Kelly Ripken said.
The fund benefits the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where Sam Hulett was treated after he sustained fatal injuries from being hit by a car last month.
"This is both a happy and sad occasion, because real good has evolved from the loss of Sam," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said. "This is a way the Orioles family can make a positive contribution to children in need."
Checks or money orders made out to the Sam Hulett Fund may be sent to: Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Room 204, Reed Hall, 1620 McElderry St., Baltimore, Md. 21205.
The Orioles had gone without an extra-base hit in back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 3, 1989 (four games) until Randy Milligan's first-inning double last night . . . Milligan and Cal Ripken, who totaled 50 homers last year, have only one since June 23, covering 380 at-bats . . . Of the Orioles' 27 homers since the All-Star break, Leo Gomez has 10.