A's come in losing, but you can't tell it by West standings

April 25, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

Only in an age of realignment could a team be four games under .500 and only a half-game out of first place. But such will be the case tonight, when the Oakland Athletics (7-11) visit Camden Yards.

Having gone winless last week, the A's will be trying to break a six-game losing streak against the Orioles tonight. If they do, and the California Angels lose to the New York Yankees, the A's would move into first place in the watered-down American League West Division.

Conversely, the Orioles, with a 10-7 record, do not have a similar opportunity -- they trail the AL East leading Boston Red Sox by 2 1/2 games and are 1 1/2 games behind the second-place Toronto Blue Jays. They also are coming off their toughest loss of the still young season, a come-from-ahead, 7-6 setback at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

Tonight's game opens a two-game series that concludes an eight-game homestand and features an attractive pitching matchup.

Mike Mussina (3-1, 2.17) will be trying to become the fourth four-game winner in the major leagues, joining teammate Ben McDonald, White Sox left-hander Wilson Alvarez and St. Louis right-hander Bob Tewksbury. He will be faced by rookie Steve Karsay (1-1, 1.17), a highly touted right-hander whom the A's obtained as compensation for Toronto's three-month rental of outfielder Rickey Henderson late last year.

This is the last stop on a three-city road trip that already has been disastrous for the A's. They lost three straight in both Boston and New York -- the first time they've been swept in consecutive series since the Blue Jays and Orioles did it last Aug. 30-Sept. 5. Overall the A's have lost eight of 11 games played on the road this year.

The Orioles have been erratic during the first two series of this homestand, losing two of three to the Angels and winning two of three from the Mariners.

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