Breakdown at the break

July 11, 1996|By Buster Olney

Playing better than expected

Roberto Alomar: Everything he does is for the purpose of winning -- advancing runners, stealing bases in critical situations, making defensive plays.

Brady Anderson: He might take a run at 60 homers; think anyone expected that?

Rocky Coppinger: Since being promoted from the minors, he has given the rotation a tremendous jolt of aggressiveness.

Roger McDowell: Has slumped lately, but for two months, he carried the bullpen. They would be out of the race if it weren't for him.

Rafael Palmeiro: Could reach 100 RBIs by early August and finish the year with 40 doubles and 40 homers.

Arthur Rhodes: The hard-throwing left-hander finally has found his niche, and is making the best of it. To think that he was being shopped around in spring training.

B. J. Surhoff: He has played a solid third base, better than anyone thought he would. Fought his way out of a June slump on last road trip.

Bill Ripken: Figured to be a spare part who never would get a chance to contribute, but he has picked up the intensity level of this team when he has played.

Performing to expectations

Manny Alexander: Hard to expect anything from someone who never plays. If Orioles don't perform better soon, he'll get a shot to play shortstop.

Bobby Bonilla: Despite his early-season problems at designated hitter, he still has an excellent shot at 100 RBIs. His outfield defense has regressed since last year.

Scott Erickson: He has won only five games and lost six. But Erickson was right when he said his defense cost him some victories. Pitched well since early June.

Jeff Huson: A total of eight at-bats in the first half of the year, in eight games. Everybody knew the utility men would get few chances on this team.

Rick Krivda: The book on Krivda coming into this season: He won't throw shutouts, but he'll give you a chance to win. That's what he has done.

Alan Mills: Coming back from shoulder surgery, he was expected to play a support role in the bullpen. Sometimes he has been better than that, other times -- in close games -- he has had trouble.

Mike Mussina: As he did in 1995, Mussina went through a period when he was getting knocked around. But he's among the league-leaders in victories, with 11.

Randy Myers: Finished the first half on a downer, but Myers has converted 18 of 22 save opportunities, a solid ratio.

Jesse Orosco: His statistics (5.81 ERA) are deceiving, because he gave up 12 runs in two April outings. Overall, he has given up runs in only six of 28 outings.

Cal Ripken: Overall, he's having a fine season. For the first six weeks, he played poorly, offensively and defensively. Since then, he has been exceptional.

Gregg Zaun: The life of a backup catcher: Play a couple of games a week, mix in a few hits, occasionally contribute something special. That's what he has done.

Performing below expections

Armando Benitez: The Orioles hoped he would assume a primary role in the bullpen. Instead, he has assumed a primary role on the disabled list.

Mike Devereaux: Played better of late, but manager Davey Johnson has said several times that he wanted more consistency from the veteran.

Jeffrey Hammonds: In less than three months, he went from everyday left fielder to trade bait and Triple-A outfielder.

Jimmy Haynes: The Orioles hoped for 10 to 12 victories from the rookie. He was out of the rotation by June, and has done better in long relief.

Chris Hoiles: With his average in the low-.200s, the Orioles placed him on waivers, hoping someone would assume the rest of his five-year contract.

Kent Mercker: Loss in velocity spells doom for a high-ball, fastball pitcher trying to survive in small ballpark.

Luis Polonia: Started to hit better in the past week, but his first two months have been earmarked by mental mistakes and double-play groundouts.

Mark Smith: He really hasn't had the sort of opportunity young players get in Detroit or Kansas City, playing two months uninterrupted. But he hasn't capitalized on the at-bats he gets (one walk in 60 plate appearances).

Tony Tarasco: Johnson wanted to establish him as an everyday major-leaguer this year, give him 400 to 500 at-bats. Inconsistency landed him in the minors, and shoulder surgery ended his season.

David Wells: The Orioles need him to be a leader, the kind of pitcher who prepares to battle every fifth day. He didn't start pitching like that until June.

Nothing as expected

Davey Johnson: Johnson's reputation after 10 years in the National League was firmly established: A players' manager, someone who did everything possible to make his charges more comfortable. But after their 11-2 start, the Orioles have been mediocre and, at times, indifferent, and Johnson has shaken the roots of this team -- Ripken, Anderson, Bonilla, et cetera -- in an effort to spur them. As a result, many of Johnson's players dislike him and question many of his decisions.

Pub Date: 7/11/96

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