For O's Moyer, it's mound over matter

SIDELIGHT

May 25, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- Orioles left-hander Jamie Moyer has been through this so many times in his career, this speculation about the security of his spot in the rotation.

Moyer (1-3, 6.39) faces Milwaukee's Mike Ignasiak (1-0, 3.68) today with a recent lack of success in tow.

Moyer pitched into the seventh inning in each of his first five starts, but has not made it out of the fourth in two of his past three. He is 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in his past three starts.

It's that time again, to ask if Moyer's next start could be his last start. The main difference now is Moyer is not asking himself that question.

"Obviously I'm not happy with how it's gone lately, but I'm not asking myself if I don't go out and pitch a good game what's going to happen," Moyer said. "If I start to let that happen, my concentration is not on what I'm doing.

"I think I've done a good job of blocking that out," Moyer said. "I don't know if I've blocked it out 100 percent. As a younger player, I wouldn't have been able to. I would be panicking, saying I don't know what's going on, telling myself this was going to be my last start."

Orioles manager Johnny Oates said Moyer has no reason to feel as if he is pitching for his job when he takes the mound today.

"This is no more important than any other time," Oates said. "As far as I know, we're not contemplating any change. I'm sure we're exploring [trade] possibilities, but I don't expect anything."

Moyer, 31, took a 34-54 lifetime record and 4.56 ERA into this season and was coming off his best year. After going 6-0 at Triple-A Rochester last season, Moyer went 12-9 with a 3.43 ERA for the Orioles.

He said his confidence is not waning.

"I don't feel like people are looking at me saying, "You're pitching today, we have to score 10 runs, or we're not going to win. The organization showed a lot of confidence in me last season, and I don't think anything has changed as far as that goes."

Moyer has the best walk ratio (1.6 per nine innings) in the AL, but has given up 10 home runs in 49 1/3 innings. Five of the first six batters he walked went on to score.

"Just like the home runs, the walks came at a bad time," Moyer said. "Who's to say that won't change?"

Moyer said he doesn't second-guess himself for his pitch selection on the home runs as much as the pitches leading up to the home runs.

"How did I get to those pitches?" Moyer said. "Is it away, away, away, away? Or is it away, in, in, away? Those are the things I'm thinking about now."

He said he had no plans of shying away from throwing strikes because the home run totals are high.

At the moment, with Arthur Rhodes in Triple-A and Double-A right-hander Jimmy Haynes apparently not ready for the jump to the major leagues, the Orioles don't appear to have plans of bouncing Moyer from the rotation.

"I've struggled, but with the exception of two games, I don't think I've thrown that bad," Moyer said, referring to his starts against Toronto and the Yankees.

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