Stottlemyre long has been thorn in Orioles' side

May 11, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

If Todd Stottlemyre had to pitch a game a day ahead of schedule and without his normal rest, it would figure to be against the Orioles.

The Blue Jays' right-hander will take an 8-1 career record into tonight's game as the Orioles try to complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays.

Stottlemyre (3-0, 3.38) was not originally scheduled to pitch, but was moved up a day to replace Dave Stewart, who was scratched because of a strained groin muscle. He will be working on three days of rest instead of the customary four days between starts.

Stottlemyre will be opposed by Mike Mussina (5-1, 2.73) as the Orioles conclude a five-game homestand. Mussina did not have a decision against the Blue Jays last year, and is 1-1 for his career.

Despite last night's victory -- their third in a row -- the Orioles remained a half-game behind New York in the American League East standings as the Yankees stretched their winning streak to five with a 5-3 victory over Cleveland.

For the Orioles, the most encouraging factor about facing Stottlemyre is that they beat him the last time they faced him to break an eight-game losing streak. Fernando Valenzuela won a 7-2 decision in the third-to-last game of the 1993 season -- which stirs memories of Stottlemyre's most memorable (or forgettable) appearance against the Orioles four years earlier.

That one also came in the third-to-last game of the season, 1989, when the first-place Blue Jays went into the final weekend with a one-game lead over the Orioles. It wasn't one of Stottlemyre's eight straight wins, but it produced the most agonizing loss the Orioles have suffered since they dropped the last game of the season -- and a division title -- to Milwaukee in 1982.

In that game on Sept. 29, 1989, Phil Bradley hit the first pitch Stottlemyre threw off the facing of the second deck in the SkyDome. It was the last run the Orioles would score in a game they lost 2-1 in 11 innings -- and the Blue Jays made another comeback the next day to clinch the AL East title.

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