Oates decides to put Sutcliffe experiment to restWith the...

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 24, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Oates decides to put Sutcliffe experiment to rest

With the American League East pennant race, or at least the Orioles' involvement in it, pretty much decided, manager Johnny Oates has scrapped the Rick Sutcliffe experiment.

Oates had decided to pitch the right-hander on three days' rest, arranging the rotation so that Sutcliffe would have started the regular-season finale, at Cleveland, if the game was pivotal.

But a combination of the Orioles' near elimination from pennant contention and Sutcliffe's relative ineffectiveness in his four starts on shorter rest persuaded Oates to reinstate the five-man rotation for the final 10 games.

That will mean that Sutcliffe, who started Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, will pitch Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, and Mike Mussina, who worked Monday night in Milwaukee, will pitch Saturday night.

With his bases-clearing double in the third inning, Mike Devereaux ran his batting average with the bases loaded this ZTC season to .542 (13-for-24) with 38 RBI. Devereaux came up with the bases loaded again in the fourth inning and grounded to short.

Setting new goals

Before last night's game, Oates made official what virtually everyone suspected, saying the Orioles are out of the AL East race for 1992.

"We're not going to concede, but sooner or later, you have to start facing the music and be realistic," said Oates.

After last night's 4-1 win, however, Oates had backed off his quasiconcession speech. "We're way back. We've still got our backs to the wall, but we're still in it."

Oates said Tuesday's loss, where the Orioles had the potential tying run at third base in both the eighth and ninth innings, was emotionally taxing.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, I leave a game here when I go home," said Oates. "[Tuesday night] was one of those that I didn't leave here. It [the win] was there."

Oates said a new goal for the club is to win 90 games, which will be achieved if it can win eight of its remaining games.

"Getting 90 wins after losing 95 last year would be really good. There's something to be said for that," said Oates.

If the Orioles get to the 90-win mark, they would become the 10th team in major-league history to win 90 or more one season after losing 90 or more games.

Cougars go south

The Orioles lost their Single-A team in Kane County, Ill., yesterday when Cougars officials signed a four-year agreement with the Florida Marlins, who will join the National League next season.

There was no immediate word on where the Orioles would reassign their players or if they would seek to affiliate with another Single-A team.

One night too late . . .

Toronto pitcher Todd Stottlemyre, who got the win over the Orioles Tuesday, yesterday dropped his appeal of a five-day suspension for making contact with an umpire last month and will begin serving the suspension immediately.

Stottlemyre had been ejected from an Aug. 5 game with the Boston Red Sox, then made contact with umpire Jim Joyce. He was subsequently suspended by American League president Bobby Brown and was scheduled to have a hearing tomorrow.

He cares

Devereaux will be saluted Sept. 29 as a member of The Caring Team of Athletes, a charitable program that pays for health care for children of low-income families. There are approximately 20 programs in operation around the country.

As the Orioles' representative, each Devereaux hit this season has generated contributions to Maryland's program by Crest Toothpaste and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland.

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