Ups and downsThe Orioles -- UP -- Wonder if the Indians...

Buster Olney's O's week in review

April 07, 1996|By Buster olney

Ups and downs

The Orioles -- UP -- Wonder if the Indians and Braves are worried. Probably not yet.

Roberto Alomar -- UP -- Need a clutch hit? He's the guy. Need a great defensive play? Call Robbie. Searching for a division title?

Cal Ripken -- UP -- The consecutive-games record belongs to him, he's playing with Alomar on a good team, he's swinging the bat well. Life is good.

Randy Myers -- UP -- So that was the problem with Doug Jones: No stun guns. No grenades. No stuff that would set off the Secret Service metal detectors.

Jeffrey Hammonds -- UP -- Your basic No. 9 hitter, batting well over .300. He's running pretty well, too, much better than last year.

Bobby Bonilla -- UP -- At least he's maintaining a sense of humor about this designated hitter thing, and is hitting, too.

Davey Johnson -- UP -- Welcome home. What took you so long to get here?

QUOTE

He must've thrown 100 pitches. He absolutely was not going to go out there and not throw the ball over the plate.... Catching the prez, that was pretty good."

Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who warmed up President Clinton in the indoor batting cages in Camden Yards before the president threw out the first pitch on Opening Day.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Shortstop Cal Ripken went 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position the first three games of the season, getting at least one hit in each game.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Tuesday-Wednesday, vs. Cleveland: Of course, everybody involved will say it's really not that big of a deal, that an Indians-Orioles matchup in April has no special implications. Of course, they'll be lying a bit. There were several times last year when it seemed the Orioles were ready to break through - just before Cleveland finished them and reasserted the pecking order in the American League. The Orioles will want to make a good showing at least.

Friday-Sunday, vs. Minnesota: The Twins should be better than the Kansas City Royals, but not by much, particularly since Kirby Puckett is out with an eye problem. Minnesota gave the Orioles fits last year, and they have some good position players, such as second baseman Chuck Knoblauch and outfielder Marty Cordova.

THE GOOD

New Orioles closer Randy Myers needed only 22 pitches to pick up saves on Opening Day and Thursday. The only hit he allowed in two innings was a chopper in front of the mound.

THE BAD

The Royals. They don't have a single hitter in their entire lineup that a pitcher should fear, with the possible exception of catcher Mike Macfarlane.

THE UGLY

The bruise on the top of Davey Johnson's right foot, after he tripped and fell late Wednesday night walking his Labrador retriever puppy, Alfie.

A MOVE THAT PAID OFF...

Everybody knew that signing Roberto Alomar would help. But the depth of his impact becomes more apparent. In the three-game sweep of the Royals, he collected six hits in 10 at-bats, including a two-run homer Wednesday.

...AND ONE THAT DIDN'T

With the potential lead run at third in the eighth inning Thursday, Kansas City manager Bob Boone played the infield only halfway in, hoping that Orioles pinch hitter Tony Tarasco would bounce into a double play - ignoring the fact that Tarasco hit into only two double plays in 438 at-bats last season, the best ratio in baseball. Tarasco did hit a grounder to second, but the Royals couldn't turn a DP, and the lead run scored.

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