At 4-0, McDonald searches for 'good stuff'

April 27, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

Having survived an erratic eight-game homestand, the Orioles open a seven-game West Coast road trip against California tonight.

Ben McDonald (4-0, 3.18), who is enjoying the best start of his career, will attempt to become the first five-game winner in the American League when he faces California tonight. The Angels will counter with left-hander Chuck Finley (0-1, 5.86).

Although encouraged by his early success, McDonald has been his own worst critic during the early stages of the season. "I've still got a long way to go," the big right-hander said. "I really don't feel as though I've had my good stuff yet."

If that is the case, the Orioles figure they have a lot to look forward to the rest of the way. For the first time this year they are coming off a five-game stretch that saw each member of the starting rotation turn in a strong performance.

When the Orioles left for the West Coast after yesterday's 10-4 win over the Oakland Athletics they did so with the best record after 19 games (12-7) they have had in the past nine seasons.

Not since 1985, when they began with an identical record, have the Orioles been this successful this early in the year. And the last time they had a better record at the same juncture was in 1970, when the Orioles started 13-6 en route to their second World Series championship.

Following the series against the Angels, the Orioles will go to Seattle for three games, then finish with two games against the A's in Oakland.

That will conclude their first round of activity against the four AL West teams, against whom they have an 8-6 record.

The West Coast trip marks the beginning of the Orioles' most difficult road stretch during the first half of the season. They will play 19 of their next 30 away from Camden Yards, where they have an 8-5 record.

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