Moyer: Road warrior keeps O's on track Journeyman turns savior with 8 of last 16 wins away

August 30, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- So, what exactly were the odds that Jamie Moyer would become the second Orioles pitcher to win 10 games this year?

The 30-year-old left-hander doesn't even think about such things.

"Things have been falling into place for me this year," he said. "But I've been on the other side of this a few times in my career. I've had the opposite happen to me a lot."

With 10 wins in his past 13 decisions, Moyer has been a savior for the Orioles' starting rotation. He has recorded eight of their past 16 victories on the road and is on a three-game winning streak at a time his team has been desperately trying to stay in the American League East race.

Yesterday Moyer blanked the Texas Rangers on one hit for the first six innings -- despite the fact he didn't feel he was on his game.

"I didn't feel sharp at all," said Moyer, who wound up yielding five hits and two earned runs in seven-plus innings of the Orioles' 6-3 victory. "Not like the last three games [against California, Seattle and New York].

"But they swung at some bad pitches and they hit some balls at people. I didn't feel I had the command that I had in those other games."

The look from the dugout, evidently, was a lot different. "His last three games have been almost identical to each other," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates. "He had pinpoint control and he changed speeds."

Until now, Moyer has said he has been able to put the division race out of his mind. But he admitted giving it some thought yesterday.

"Only because it's been brought up so many times [by the media], I did think about it while I was getting dressed," he said. "But it wasn't anything like going back to the hotel last [Saturday] night and staying awake thinking, 'We've lost two in a row, we've got to win.'

"This is the first time I've ever been with a club that's been in contention this late in the season. It's new to me, but it's fun."

Yesterday's win came against one of the three teams Moyer has pitched for in the big leagues (the Cardinals and Cubs are the others), but he said it carried no special significance. "They're just another team on our schedule," he said. "They're trying to win and we're trying to win."

His former association with the Rangers provided Moyer with no more an advantage than incentive.

"I've never pitched against them before, and only faced a couple of their hitters," he said.

"The big thing for me was to keep the ball out of the air. They are a powerful team, especially in this park, and you can't let them hit it in the air."

That point was driven home to Moyer Saturday night, when he was charting pitches while the Rangers hit five home runs off Fernando Valenzuela and Kevin McGehee.

But he said that didn't affect his approach.

"I had to go out and establish what I was going to do," said Moyer. "I couldn't think about Juan Gonzalez hitting three home runs. I had to pitch my game."

Moyer's game is beginning to look very familiar to the Orioles.

"It's gotten to the point where I expect him to pitch like that," said pitching coach Dick Bosman.

"He's learned how to pitch and he's gotten to the point where he takes it out there on a consistent basis. He's capable of doing that."

Which is not bad for a guy who was briefly without a job in the spring of 1992. That's when the Cubs decided not to offer him even a spot with their Triple-A team.

The Tigers did sign Moyer for their Triple-A team in Toledo, where he was 10-8 a year ago. However, when the Tigers did not issue Moyer an invitation to their major-league camp this year, he opted to sign a Triple-A contract with the Orioles.

That decision already has played a major role in the AL East race -- much to the Tigers' regret.

SAVING GRACE

Jamie Moyer has won his past three starts, and each win has broken an Orioles losing streak.

Date .. .. .. ..Opp. .. .. ..O's streak .. .IP .. .H .. ..ER

Aug. 29 .. .. .Texas .. .. .. ..Lost 2 .. ...7 .. .5 .. ...2

Aug. 24 .. .. .Calif. .. .. .. .Lost 2 .. ...8 .. .3 .. ...0

Aug. 18 .. ...Seattle .. .. .. .Lost 8 .. ...9 .. .8 .. ...1

ERA past three starts 1.13

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