McDonald had a mound of problems

Orioles notebook

April 11, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SEATTLE -- Right-hander Ben McDonald turned in one of the worst performances of his career Friday night, but manager Johnny Oates is not particularly concerned.

Oates suspects that there was a good reason McDonald had trouble getting his feet on the ground -- namely, the ground under his feet. The slope of the mound at the Kingdome drew complaints from both clubhouses after Friday's game.

"I threw batting practice this afternoon and I'm pretty good at throwing strikes," Oates said yesterday, "but I couldn't get the ball below the hitters' shoulders because of the slope of the mound. Whether that had anything to do with it, I couldn't tell you, but that's what happened to me."

Mariners pitcher Erik Hanson had similar complaints after Friday's game, even though he pitched six shutout innings. He was in trouble all evening, but took advantage of the Orioles' poor clutch hitting to register his first victory.

McDonald was not quite so fortunate. He threw 55 pitches in 1 1/3 innings and had a career-high seven walks.

Bullpen running smoothly

The Orioles have gotten off to a difficult start, but Oates has no complaints about the configuration of his bullpen. He has gotten solid performances from setup men Alan Mills and Todd Frohwirth and two good outings from left-hander Jim Poole.

"We'll see how it goes, but I'm happy," Oates said. "We've got two guys who can go long, two guys who can set up and a closer."

On the run

The Orioles got their first two stolen bases of the year during the same at-bat in the sixth inning of last night's game against the Mariners.

After raking Seattle starter John Cummings for five straight hits, Tim Hulett greeted reliever Dave Wainhouse with a double, driving in two runs to break a 3-3 tie.

I= When Luis Mercedes drew a walk, Harold Reynolds squared toattempt a sacrifice bunt, but took the pitch for a strike. In anticipation of the bunt, Hulett was about 35 feet away from second base -- and easily stole third when catcher Dave Valle tried to pick him off.

With runners on first and third, the count eventually went t3-and-2, and Mercedes stole second as Reynolds struck out. Until that inning, the Orioles had not attempted a stolen base

this season.

Davis shines with glove

Glenn Davis has had a frustrating start with the bat this year, but the Orioles have had no complaints about his defense. Davis started his fifth straight game at first base last night -- and helped keep the Orioles in the game with his glove.

In the third inning, with the Orioles trailing 2-0, the bases loadeand two outs, Davis went to his left to field a drive by Pete O'Brien on a short hop to end the inning. Two innings later, again with the bases loaded and two outs and the Orioles trailing 3-0, Davis went to the ground to stop a hard smash hit to his right by Wally Backman and threw to Rick Sutcliffe covering first for the final out of the inning.

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