(Through Thursday's games)UPS AND DOWNSCal Ripken -- UP...

Buster Olney's O's week in review

July 14, 1996|By Buster Olney

(Through Thursday's games)

UPS AND DOWNS

Cal Ripken -- UP -- Do the White Sox really think a mere forearm smash to the nose of the Iron Man can sway the wild-card race? Hah! Next time, try kryptonite.

Division title hopes -- DOWN -- Time to concentrate on holding off those Blue Jays.

Brady Anderson -- UP -- He goes toe-to-toe with heavyweights in home-run hitting contest and holds his own.

Camden Yards crowd -- DOWN -- They had all the energy of a debate team after Thursday night. Yankee Stadium crowds puts them to shame (and themselves, as well).

The Yankees -- UP -- They advance runners, hustle out ground balls and fly balls, and get consistent production from the bottom of their lineup - things the Orioles don't always do.

Trade talk -- DOWN -- Orioles don't want to overpay to augment a team that looks fundamentally flawed.

Manny Alexander -- HORZ -- Has anyone seen him lately? Or Kent Mercker, for that matter?

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Orioles have lost the past nine games in which they didn't hit a homer, dating back to May 26. They didn't hit a homer Thursday night and lost to the Yankees, 4-2.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I wanted to keep it a secret. The last thing you want is to go down in history as the only All-Star injury sustained in a team picture." - Cal Ripken, whose nose was broken Tuesday.

A move that paid off...

The switch of Brady Anderson from first to second in the lineup hasn't hurt his power production in the least. Last Sunday, he hit his 30th homer and fourth in 10 games since being dropped to the second spot in the lineup.

... and one that didn't

But the bunching of Anderson and Roberto Alomar at the top of the order has left the Orioles with a gaping hole at the bottom of the order, particularly on nights when Mike Devereaux hasn't hit. Mark Smith, Chris Hoiles, Luis Polonia and Devereaux (sometimes) have really struggled.

The good

Rocky Coppinger beat Roger Clemens on July 6, the sixth straight game won by the Orioles when Coppinger starts.

The bad

Roberto Alomar made Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams look bad Thursday night, with his exceptional relay. As he turned to throw home, Alomar instantly realized that Williams had fallen rounding third. Alomar fired across the infield, and Williams was tagged out.

The ugly

Alomar's sprained finger. Particularly enjoyable was Alomar's description of how the finger was dislocated slightly and how he pulled the joint back in place. Lovely.

The week ahead

Tomorrow-Wednesday, vs. Toronto.

The Blue Jays come to Baltimore for the first time this season, having lost two of three to the Orioles two weeks ago in Toronto. Rick Krivda pitches the opener for the Orioles, his first start since losing to the Blue Jays on July 3. That night, Krivda gave up a two-out grand slam to Ed Sprague to lose. Mike Mussina pitches against the Blue Jays for the first time this year, and the first time since Toronto manager Cito Gaston took a verbal swipe at him, saying "Just because [Mussina's a jerk] doesn't mean I have to be." Mussina pitches Tuesday.

Thursday-Sunday, at Boston

The Orioles go into Boston for the first time this year, having won four of the first seven games between the two teams this season. Rocky Coppinger pitches against the Red Sox in the first game of the series. Boston first baseman Mo Vaughn faces the Orioles for the first time since hitting two homers against them last Sunday, including the game-winning three-run shot off Randy Myers in the ninth inning.

By the numbers

The Chicago Cubs had a better record at the All-Star break last year (37-32) than this year (41-46), but this year they were five games out of first place, better than last year (6 1/2 games).

Detroit's Brad Ausmus needed 36 at-bats before getting his first American League RBI.

There were 656 runs scored in the first 42 games at Coors Field in Denver this season. In the first 42 games at Dodger Stadium, there were 281 runs scored.

Last Sunday, Minnesota used Denny Hocking, a lifetime .147 hitter with one homer, as a pinch hitter for cleanup hitter Stan Stahoviak.

In San Francisco's first 48 games, before Glenallen Hill broke his wrist, the Giants scored an average of 5.3 runs per game. In their next 31 games, they averaged 3.1 runs per game.

San Diego is 17-5 when Tony Gwynn has been out of the lineup this year.

The Padres have drawn 11 crowds of more than 40,000, matching the club record set in 1984. They drew 1,252,929 in the first 50 games, surpassing last year's attendance of 1,041,805.

Denny Neagle and Danny Darwin are 17-12 for the Pirates. Ten other starters used by Pittsburgh are 11-21 with a 5.98 ERA.

! Pub Date: 7/14/96

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