Oquist in search of reprieve

June 24, 1994|By Lori Van Lonkhuyzen | Lori Van Lonkhuyzen,Sun Staff Writer

Scheduled starter Sid Fernandez may not pitch for the Orioles tonight in Toronto because of an injury he believes he suffered in his last start.

Fernandez feels pain in his right side, which may be due to a muscle strain in his rib cage.

If Fernandez doesn't start tonight, the Orioles will send Mike Oquist to the mound.

Oquist's last start was Sunday, a dismal afternoon that saw him exit the game in the third inning, which ended with six Minnesota Twins runs being charged to him.

After the 10-4 loss, Oquist desperately needs a decent outing to help out his cause. In four starts, he has pitched just 16 2/3 innings. Do the math, that's an eyelash over four innings a game. In those starts he's produced an 0-2 record and a 10.80 ERA.

But Oquist could get a reprieve from his downward-spiraling motion. Only two current Blue Jays have had hits off him. Roberto Alomar and Devon White are both 1-for-3.

Fernandez, for his part, has been stricken by the curse of fours. He is 4-4 with a 4.44 ERA. Fernandez won his last start, 11-6 over Minnesota on Saturday, with a six-inning, five-hit outing. He gave up five earned runs, walked two and struck out two.

Whoever takes the mound for the Orioles will duel Toronto's Pat Hentgen (8-5, 3.55).

Hentgen has been an open target for Orioles hitters Mark McLemore (5-for-10, .500 batting average) and Harold Baines (3-for-8, .375, home run). Cal Ripken's batting average against Hentgen is modest (.250) but he's produced three RBIs on his three hits.

Rafael Palmeiro knows Hentgen can be unhittable. The Orioles first baseman is 0-for-9 against him.

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