June 09, 1996|By BUSTER OLNEY

(Through Thursday's games)

Ups and downs

The Orioles -- UP -- Should get fat on second-division feast this week, when they travel to Detroit and Kansas City.

Roberto Alomar -- UP -- Has some big advantages in his quest for .400: He can bunt, run and switch-hit.

Brady Anderson -- EVEN -- Tigers come and go and Anderson doesn't go deep. Dude, you can't hit homers all the time.

Rocky Coppinger -- UP -- The savior. But remember, just 13 months ago, he was pitching in Single-A.

Manny Alexander -- DOWN -- It's understandable he's not happy about not playing, but to play the race card is sort of silly, given the circumstances.

B.J. Surhoff -- UP -- Was sorely missed.

Bobby Bonilla's bat -- UP -- Was sorely missed.


"It was like we were playing underwater - a synchronized baseball team ."

Orioles infielder Bill Ripken, after the brutally slow game against the Tigers on Thursday.

Stat of the week

After going 2-for-4, pushing his hitting streak to 20 games and his batting average to .406, Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar could have gone hitless in his next 78 at-bats and still be hitting .300.

The week ahead

Tomorrow-Wednesday, at Detroit: The Tigers are so bad - worse than an expansion team, perhaps worse than many Triple-A clubs - that anything less than a sweep is opportunity lost for the Orioles. Scott Erickson and David Wells will start the first and third games for the Orioles, and Rocky Coppinger could make his long-awaited major-league debut on Tuesday. It doesn't seem to matter whom Tigers manager Buddy Bell chooses to throw.

Thursday-Sunday, at Kansas City: Cal Ripken is scheduled to tie Sachio Kinugasa's all-time consecutive-game record of 2,215 on Thursday, and surpass the mark on Friday, barring the sort of injury that hasn't occurred in more than 14 years. The Orioles have dominated the Royals this year, but Kansas City has played much better since these teams met in April. Their style of play, running and bunting and bunting some more, has not changed, however; ping hitter Bip Roberts has been used in the cleanup spot by Royals manager Bob Boone.

The good

Randy Myers is quietly having a solid season, with 12 saves in 14 attempts and a 2.75 ERA. At his current pace, he'll easily surpass 30 saves.

The bad

The Tigers are redefining the phrase "bad." What is sad is that they are essentially playing this season for their three top young prospects, catcher Raul Casanova, pitcher Justin Thompson and outfielder Melvin Nieves, and last week, Thompson and Nieves went down with injuries.

The ugly

Anyone subjected to the first three innings of Thursday night's game should be offered some sort of counseling. Four pitchers, 13 runs and 183 pitches over two hours. Mind-boggling.

A move that paid off...

With B.J. Surhoff slowly getting his sprained left ankle in shape to play third base, Orioles manager Davey Johnson left Bill Ripken at third, played Bobby Bonilla in right and started Surhoff at designated hitter. And now, all three are thriving.

...And one that didn't

The Orioles' failure to acquire or develop another consistent right-hander besides Roger McDowell took its toll on McDowell, until he finally came up sore last week. By calling up Rocky Coppinger and moving Jimmy Haynes to the bullpen, it's good that the Orioles have begun to address the need.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.