Bad time gone, Mussina draws his favorite team

August 02, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

With his most troublesome month now behind him, Mike Mussina has his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, awaiting.

Mussina, who is 3-1 in his past five starts but with a 5.68 ERA, usually stumbles in July. He has won just seven major-league games with an ERA over 5.00 during the month, both career lows.

The perfect remedy for Mussina to regain some consistency would seem to be s the slumping Twins. Mussina, who has won six of seven career decisions against Minnesota, attempts to rekindle his success vs. the Twins tonight as he faces them for the first time this season. Those six victories are the most for Mussina against any team.

In three starts against the Twins last year, Mussina allowed six runs on 17 hits in 24 innings. He went 3-0 and had two of his three shutouts against them.

Those shutouts also came on back-to-back starts for Mussina, who became the first Oriole to throw consecutive complete-game shutouts since Jim Palmer in 1982. It was only the third time an Orioles pitcher blanked the same team in back-to-back starts, and the first in 24 years.

It will do some good for Mussina to get away from Camden Yards, where he has recorded four of his five losses this year. Mussina is 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA on the road.

Also in Mussina's favor are the weak-hitting Twins. During its four-game skid, Minnesota is hitting .224 (31-for-138), averaging three runs a game.

Mussina's counterpart tonight, Carlos Pulido, has pitched only one inning against the Orioles and makes his first start in 16 days. He hasn't faced any Oriole more than once, but Leo Gomez hit a bases-empty home run in his only at-bat against Pulido.

His adjustment to the Metrodome has been rocky. He is 2-4 with a 6.62 ERA at home.

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