Shelled Orioles pitchers look to reload Worst 3-game set over, done, they say

August 13, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

DETROIT -- It was the kind of confidence-shaking, sound-barrier-shattering, three-day barrage that could send a pitching staff reeling into a lengthy slump, but the Orioles headed off to New York hoping to put it all far behind them.

"I imagine there's a little bit of a sense of shock," said left-hander Jim Poole, who gave up a game-breaking grand slam in yesterday's 17-11 loss to the Detroit Tigers, "but you've got to believe that that is about as bad as it gets."

How bad? That's almost a trick question. Orioles pitchers allowed 20 hits to go with the season-high run total in yesterday's game. They allowed 15 runs in each of the previous two games. That adds up to 47 runs and the worst three-day pitching performance in the club's history.

When it was over, the Orioles kept the clubhouse door closed for 20 minutes to collect their thoughts and refocus on the three-game series against the New York Yankees that begins tonight at Yankee Stadium.

"It's done," Poole said. "We just have to hope the Yankees aren't as hot as the Tigers."

Orioles pitchers also have to hope that their confidence wasn't ,, severely damaged over the past three days. The starters were beaten up badly. The bullpen, which already was banged up physically, had to work overtime in every game. The Tigers hit a grand slam in each game to tie a major-league record. It's going to be tough to regroup.

"The way I look at it, if you're around this game long enough, stuff like this is going to happen," said starter Ben McDonald, who gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday night's 15-1 defeat. "There are going to be times when you run into a team that is as hot as a firecracker. When you make a good pitch, they foul it off. When you make a bad pitch, they hit it out. We've pitched too well this season to let it affect our confidence."

The Orioles entered Tuesday night's game ranked second in the American League with a 4.03 ERA. They left Detroit yesterday in the middle of the pack with a 4.27 mark. That's a big jump, considering how many games are in the book.

"I think we've got enough experience on our pitching staff that we won't let it bother us," McDonald said. "We're going to be fine."

That may depend on what happens to the roster the next few days. The Orioles made one pitching move during the series, bringing up Anthony Telford and sending out Brad Pennington after a Tuesday-night explosion that they figured would be an isolated incident.

It looks like there will be at least one more move this weekend. The club has been getting by with injured Gregg Olson remaining active, but he figures to go on the disabled list today. The bullpen has been worked so hard, there might even be a second move to beef up the staff.

In the meantime, the club has to regroup in a hurry for an important series against the Yankees, but left-hander Jamie Moyer needs to give the Orioles some innings to keep from turning a short-term pitching crisis into something more serious.

"I know no one believes me, but I honestly look at it as we just lost three games," said right-hander Todd Frohwirth, who got the loss yesterday, though only one of the four runs he allowed was earned. "We were going to lose three games in a row again this year. We swept them at our place, but they've got some great hitters. It doesn't surprise me that they won the series at their place.

"We just have to move on, go to the next town and realize that the next team can't explode as badly as this team did."

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