(Through Thursday's games)Ups and Downs0$ Rain -- DOWN...

Buster Olney's O's week in review

June 23, 1996|By BUSTER OLNEY

(Through Thursday's games)

Ups and Downs

0$ Rain -- DOWN -- Give us a break.

David Wells -- UP -- The Mr. Hyde in him comes out, a scary specter for hitters. Orioles hope the Dr. Jekyll in Wells doesn't come back.

Brady Anderson -- UP -- If Albert Belle corks a few more bats, cusses at some fans or barrels over another infielder, the Orioles' Dude may walk away with home run title.

E7

Kent Mercker -- DOWN -- In search of ... velocity.

Jeffrey Hammonds -- DOWN -- Many in the organization think he just needs to play a lot and learn about the game. He didn't win any friends in front office by taking the full 72 hours to report to the minors, though.

Mark Smith -- UP -- This is the chance he's been waiting for. The rest is up to him.

Vapor lock -- DOWN -- A Davey Johnson slogan that translates into "mental blunder." Lots of vapor locks over the last month.

QUOTE

"He wasn't even looking at the pitcher or the shortstop. He was looking at the ground. Then the guy turned around. We're just not paying attention. That was just vapor lock."

Orioles manager Davey Johnson, after Luis Polonia was picked off second Wednesday while dusting off his pants.

Stat of the week

Through Thursday's game, the Orioles had scored 57.4 of their ** runners from third base with less than two outs, the best percentage in baseball. Roberto Alomar ranked fifth in the AL, having driven home the runner from third 15 of 20 times, 75 percent.

The week ahead

Monday-Wednesday, at Texas: Once again, those hated Rangers, who have won eight of 10 from the Orioles this year. The Orioles will at least have their two best pitchers going for them, Mike Mussina and David Wells, in the first two games, with Rocky Coppinger pitching Game 3. The Rangers will counter with Bobby Witt in the first game.

Thursday-Sunday, at New York: The Yankees are hurting, going without David Cone and with Andy Pettitte bothered by a sore elbow, so the Orioles should have a huge pitching advantage. But the Yankees have played hard and gritty baseball. Third baseman Wade Boggs (.346) has been hot, but the key players are center fielder Bernie Williams and reliever Mariano Rivera.

The Good

Head groundskeeper Paul Zwaska and his crew did a remarkable job under trying times. Noah needed these guys.

The bad

The bad, as in good. Texas right-hander Kevin Gross started against Boston on June 15 and threw 143 pitches, warmed up and started Wednesday before the game was rained out, then started Thursday and pitched six solid innings. A gamer.

The Ugly

Kent Mercker was blitzed by the Texas Rangers for four homers and six runs in three innings. He said the next day that he felt embarrassed by his performance.

A move that paid off ...

Orioles manager Davey Johnson stuck with David Wells after the lefty allowed five runs in the first inning June 15. Wells pitched seven shutout innings the rest of the night, then came back with a strong start Thursday...

...And one that didn't

The same night that the Rangers ripped Mercker, Johnson rested second baseman Roberto Alomar and third baseman B.J. Surhoff. The only thing lacking was a concession speech.

By the numbers

Twins right-hander Frankie Rodriguez is 0-3 against the woeful Tigers this year, 5-4 against the rest of the league.

The Tigers allowed 123 homers in their first 72 games, a pace that would allow them to shatter the existing record of 226 homers allowed, by the 1987 Orioles.

Before the Dodgers beat the Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday, 9-6, they had been 0-17 when their opponents scored five or more runs.

In his first 32 games as Pittsburgh's leadoff hitter, Carlos Garcia batted .340.

In Florida's 15-inning loss to the Giants on Tuesday, the Marlins did not draw a single walk, and had 16 strikeouts.

The Phillies have used 23 position players already this year, and seven Philadelphia players have made their major-league debut in '96.

Montreal's bullpen has blown six of its last nine save chances.

Oakland first baseman Mark McGwire has 296 career homers and seven grand slams, or a grand slam about every 42 homers. Athletics catcher Terry Steinbach has 107 homers and seven grand slams, or about one every 15 at-bats.

Why the Indians dropped Carlos Baerga to seventh in their lineup: His on-base percentage has dropped from .355 to .296 this year. He had only eight walks in his first 268 at-bats.

Pub Date: 06/23/96

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