DOWNSEddie Murray *UP* You can go home again. Only...


July 28, 1996|By BUSTER OLNEY


Eddie Murray *UP* You can go home again. Only seven more homers to go until he reaches 500.

Kent Mercker *DOWN* General manager Pat Gillick made some good acquisitions in the offseason. Mercker was his worst.

Hustle *HORZ* The Orioles came out with renewed aggressiveness Thursday night, which begs the question: Why weren't they running this hard in May and June?

Playoff hopes *HORZ* The Orioles just keep on losing. Then again, so are the other wild-card contenders.

Bobby Bonilla *UP* He's hitting well at the right time - when the Orioles are poised to deal him to San Diego or Florida.

David Wells *UP* He's pitching well at the right time - when the Orioles are poised to deal him to Seattle for catcher Chris Widger.

Brady Anderson *HORZ* Playing through the appendicitis. Gutsy, but he looks like he's hurting.


"We don't have the same fire, or the same look in the eye. We have to go out there and do the little things we have to do... We have a good ballclub here. Maybe the best I've ever been on. We have to help each other out." - Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Four months into the season, the Orioles are the only team in the majors that hasn't pitched a shutout. One season, Jim Palmer threw 10.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday-Thursday, at Minnesota

Three months ago, this would've been a series welcomed by the Orioles. But now the Twins probably see themselves as Oriole-killers, having swept three games from them last week. The Orioles likely will luck out and miss Rick Aguilera and Frankie Rodriguez, two starters who gave them trouble. The trade deadline is Wednesday night, meaning David Wells could turn into a Mariner by midnight.

Friday-Monday, at Cleveland

A strangely scheduled series, with the Orioles staying over into next week. There's no telling what the makeup of the Orioles will be by the time they visit Jacobs Field, who will be part of the rotation and who won't be. Should the Orioles fall out of the

wild-card race, then it figures they may call up catcher Cesar Devarez in time for this series, in an attempt to curb Cleveland's running game.

A Move That Paid Off...

Eddie Murray bashed a homer on his first night back in an Orioles uniform, and two nights later he hit another, injecting a jolt of adrenalin into an otherwise listless team.

And One That Didn't

Manny Alexander got six days of uninterrupted play in his attempt to win the shortstop job, after rotting on the bench for three months, and he struggled so badly that manager Davey Johnson pulled the plug (temporarily, anyway).

Roberto Alomar is one of the few major-league players who can elevate his performance in a big series, and he did it in the first game against Cleveland, getting four hits, including two homers, and scoring four runs.

The Bad

Albert Belle is another of those who can elevate his play, and he did it, too, ripping rookie Rocky Coppinger for two homers, a single and five RBIs in his first three at-bats Thursday night.

Losing four games to the Yankees is one thing. But getting swept by the Minnesota Twins represented a season-low for the Orioles, who led in only two of the 27 innings against the Twins.

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