Ups and downsThe defense -- UP -- Indians manager Mike...

Buster Olney's O's week in review

April 14, 1996

Ups and downs

The defense -- UP -- Indians manager Mike Hargrove must've been jealous watching the Orioles' glove work Thursday.

The bullpen -- UP -- One earned run in the first 20 innings. It doesn't get much better than that.

Davey Johnson -- UP -- Handled everything with skill - Bobby Bonilla's preference for the field, Manny Alexander's preference

to play elsewhere, Jimmy Haynes' early struggles. Earl must be proud.

The weather -- UP -- Hopefully, it won't get any worse than it was on a chilly Wednesday, when Boog stood out by the grill for warmth.

Chris Hoiles -- EVEN -- Not hitting a lick for average, but he did get that monster homer off Jack McDowell on Wednesday, and his throwing arm hasn't been a liability.

Cleveland Indians -- DOWN -- Phew. They keep playing like this and Albert Belle will definitely leave.

Jimmy Haynes -- DOWN -- Rarely do pitchers get hit as hard as the Minnesota Twins hit the rookie last weekend. Call it a mulligan. His second shot is today.

Quote

"It wasn't an insult at all. The way I looked at it was that it gave me the opportunity to win the game. With a runner at third, I like my chances."

Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, after the Cleveland Indians intentionally walked Roberto Alomar to pitch to Palmeiro in the 10th inning of Wednesday's game. He singled home the winning run.

Stat of the week

When the Orioles beat the Indians Wednesday, it was the Indians' first extra-inning loss since July 20, 1994, breaking a string of 13 consecutive victories in extra innings.

The week ahead

Tuesday-Thursday, vs. Boston: Strange as it may seem, it being April and all, the Orioles have a great opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the struggling Red Sox, the same way the Orioles fell behind early last year. Boston's defense has been laughable, and some of the Red Sox's stars are having problems - Kevin Mitchell is out with a pulled hamstring, John Valentin went into the weekend's action batting .156, Mo Vaughn is at .194 and catcher Mike Stanley is hitting .091.

Friday-Sunday, vs. Texas: The Orioles did well against the Rangers and former manager Johnny Oates last year, winning four of five. But Texas should be improved, particularly with starters Ken Hill and Roger Pavlik throwing well. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez has been moved to the No. 2 spot, and is hitting .323. Will Clark and Mickey Tettleton, two critical pieces of the offense, have started quickly, and Juan Gonzalez is healthy.

The good

Closer Randy Myers allowed one hit in his first four innings, earning four saves and needing only 51 pitches in those four outings. He has struck out six.

The bad

The Indians' defense in the third inning of Thursday's 14-4 loss to the Orioles. Four of the six members of the infield made at least one mistake (shortstop Omar Vizquel and catcher Sandy Alomar being the exceptions). The low point: Pitcher Orel Hershiser failed to step on the bag as he fielded an easy flip from first baseman Julio Franco.

The ugly

It's tough enough being a bench player with the Orioles, who start the same eight players just about every day, with two others sharing the ninth spot. But imagine life on the bench for utility men Manny Alexander, Bill Ripken and Jeff Huson on Wednesday nignt, sitting in the cold, trying to anticipate any situation when they might possibly enter the game.

A move that paid off...

Last Sunday in Minnesota, the Orioles manufactured an important run in the seventh inning. Jeffrey Hammonds drew a walk, and then with the count 0-2, he swiped second. Brady Anderson bunted him to third, and Roberto Alomar drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

...and one that didn't

Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove left Jack McDowell in the game to pitch to Brady Anderson in the seventh inning Wednesday night, rather than bring in left-hander Jim Poole. McDowell got behind in the count 2-0, then threw a 2-2 fastball that Anderson hit for a single up the middle, tying the game at 2-2. The Orioles went on to win in 10 innings.

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