3 ex-Mets puzzled by O's, but not Johnson Orosco, Myers, McDowell know manager is winner

Sidelight

June 29, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- There is no clear-cut reason for the Orioles' inconsistent play.

There are as many different theories as there are players on the team. Some Orioles are just plain baffled. Others say they'd rather prepare for the future than offer conjecture about the past.

The three Orioles who have been around manager Davey Johnson the longest and know him the best -- veteran relievers Randy Myers, Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco -- aren't sure exactly what's gone wrong in Baltimore thus far. They do know what it was like to win with Johnson in the past.

All three played on Johnson's 1986 World Series champion New York Mets.

"Davey has always been a manager who knew he had 25 individual guys and yet everyone there had a common goal at game time -- go out and win," Myers said. "[The players] gave themselves up for the benefit of the team. Davey has won and he knows what he wants to do. Everything he does is for the sake of winning and putting together a winning ballclub."

When asked about this year's team, Myers wouldn't comment. "I haven't been here long enough," he said.

McDowell said chemistry, or a lack of chemistry, will play a big part in the Orioles' second-half success.

rTC "We're like an orphanage trying to become a family," McDowell said. "We're trying to make an orphanage more like 'Leave it Beaver,' with Ward and June Cleaver in the clubhouse. That's what we're trying to accomplish here.

"The best recognition of another player is to say, 'I want him on my team. I want to go to war with him.' We're in a war. It's not always the most talented guy or the guy with the best numbers you want in the foxhole with you."

McDowell just grinned slyly when asked how many of his teammates he would want in his foxhole. "I really won't know until the end," he said. "I think we can rally the troops."

It's already rallying time now for Orosco.

Orosco said he's disappointed in the Orioles' showing the last two months and said they can't afford to wait too much longer to put together a lengthy winning streak. He said the Orioles need at least two or three streaks of eight consecutive wins, or a stretch where the team wins 20 of 25 to stay in contention.

"I don't want to be seven or eight games out at the All-Star break," Orosco said. "That'll be just like last year, but with a better team. We have to get our timing down. We need to be aggressive in what we do: making a big pitch, moving guys over. Fundamentals. Sometimes, no matter how good you are on paper, it doesn't work out. I certainly haven't given up on this team. No one has."

McDowell is far from panic mode. The Orioles are still on a 90-win pace and that's about how many wins McDowell thought it would take to win the division.

McDowell said the Orioles haven't blown many games they should have won, a comforting fact. In fact, McDowell said he's been impressed by the club's ability to steal wins late in games.

"The good teams win pennants in the second half," he said. "We're going to have a better record in the second half. Maybe it's cockiness, but I think we're going to win."

Pub Date: 6/29/96

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