Hoiles, pitchers combining to keep base runners honest

Orioles notebook

April 22, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Orioles manager Johnny Oates said Chris Hoiles' remarkable improvement in preventing stolen bases can be attributed to two significant factors.

"He's getting rid of the ball quicker and we've got three or four pitchers who've really gotten better at holding runners on base," said Oates.

"[Mike] Mussina has always been good, and [Ben] McDonald, [Alan] Mills, [Jim] Poole and [Todd] Frohwirth have gotten a lot better. Now we've got to work some with [Arthur] Rhodes. The improvement [at holding runners on base] has a lot to do with it, but Chris is also throwing the ball quick and very accurate."

In the first 11 games, Hoiles threw out 10 of 17 runners attempting to steal (59 percent). A year ago he caught only 16 of 103 (15.5 percent), which was a considerable drop from the year before, when he was 25-for-74 (33.7 percent).

Tuesday night recap

The 2-1, 14-inning loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night added to the frustration that Oates is feeling. McDonald pitched a strong 8 2/3 innings in his third start of 1993, and Frohwirth pitched 4 1/3 innings of hitless relief, but the Orioles stranded 10 runners.

"You look back on the first 12 games and you can see plenty of opportunities where just one hit, a cheap one or any kind, or a ground ball here or there would have won for us," Oates said. "We're not getting it.

"When you give up two runs over 14 innings, you should have a pretty good chance to win."

In addition to leaving 10 runners, the Orioles got just one hit during a span of 27 outs after Cal Ripken led off the sixth inning with a hit. Three White Sox relievers combined to pitch six shutout innings after starter Wilson Alvarez dueled McDonald into the ninth.

Mills took over for the Orioles in the 14th and handed a leadoff walk to Joey Cora. Hoiles complicated the situation with a passed ball before Lance Johnson singled Cora to third and Frank Thomas lined a sacrifice fly to center field to break a tie that had existed since the third inning.

Hernandez has heat

The Orioles don't use a radar gun regularly, but according to Oates, Chicago reliever Roberto Hernandez was clocked at 95 mph Tuesday night.

"Every once in a while you pick it up from a scout [in the stands]," said Oates, who revealed that one of Rick Sutcliffe's pitches was timed at 68 mph last week.

"That's BHS," said Oates. "Below hitting speed."

On a tear

Outfielder Lance Johnson hit safely in the first 11 games, just two below the White Sox record for a consecutive game hitting streak at the start of the season.

Floyd Robinson hit safely in the first 13 games in 1966. Carlton Fisk hit in 11 straight to start the 1991 season.

Cary goes on DL

The White Sox placed left-handed reliever Chuck Cary on the 15-day disabled list yesterday and recalled right-hander Jeff Schwarz.

Cary aggravated a back muscle injury originally suffered in an exhibition game April 2. Schwarz, who was 0-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four games with Triple-A Nashville, was in uniform last night.

Reading program, Part III

"Reading, Runs and Ripken," a literacy program sponsored by the Orioles shortstop, began its third season last night.

Mayor Kurt Schmoke joined Ripken and Ripken's wife, Kelly, in a kickoff ceremony last night at Camden Yards. The program has raised more than $160,000 in the past two years.

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