TORONTO -- For one more day, Rick Krivda watched the sun set in Rochester and Shawn Boskie watched it from limbo.
As the Orioles seem drawn to the inevitable conclusion that their Triple-A left-hander will Boskie soon inherit the fifth starter's role, Boskie is still asked to keep the seat warm. Manager Davey Johnson said that Boskie will make his fifth start of the season Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. Left unsaid, all bets are then off.
Despite a harrowing performance in his last outing, Krivda has been the International League's most impressive starting pitcher, crafting a 9-2 record around a nine-game win streak accompanied by a 3.01 ERA. Ever since Rocky Coppinger faded in May, many within the organization have advocated Krivda's promotion.
But there is a catch. Should Krivda not succeed, the club would be forced to again float him through waivers before returning him to Rochester.
Krivda's loss Monday was his first since April 7, a span of 13 starts. The organization is willing to overlook a 1 2/3 -inning outing that included eight hits and six earned runs. In 95 2/3 innings, Krivda has struck out 84 against only 16 walks.
"I think any time you've got the best pitching going at Triple-A, you've got to take that into consideration," Johnson said.
General manager Pat Gillick has opened the possibility of a pending promotion. However, Boskie's next start apparently will fulfill his manager's promise that he would be given a fair shot.
Krivda, 27, is three years younger than Boskie. "He thinks the game every time," said Rochester Red Wings pitching coach Fred Dallimore. "He can analyze guys' swings and read their bats. He fields his position well, stops the running game, gets big outs. He helps himself."
Dallimore attributes Krivda's improvement to an increased assortment. Word has reached Johnson that Krivda also has gained 3 mph on his fastball.
Krivda is scheduled to start tonight. If he is scratched, the Orioles' intentions will become clear. However, Johnson insisted yesterday that was not the plan.
Boskie quietly wonders about the consideration he has received. Handed a starter's role in spring training, he sandwiched two rough starts around 11 days in April before being replaced in the rotation by Coppinger. He has returned for two starts this month but again faltered, yielding seven earned runs in nine innings.
"To be honest, I've tried not to think about it to keep the distraction to a minimum," Boskie said. "I want to stay focused on what I'm trying to do, and to be honest, this controversy can only take away from that if I let it."
Boskie was jolted earlier this year when he was replaced by Coppinger after only two starts.
"You know they're going to do whatever they think it takes to improve themselves," he said. "The goal here is to get to the World Series. It's not like there is a conspiracy out there to get me. I've had 30 bad innings. But I've been pitching in the major leagues for eight years now. I don't think that's a fluke."
Not surprisingly, Boskie has hurt himself with home runs. A year after allowing 40 with the California Angels, he has surrendered nine in 38 1/3 innings. Only Mike Mussina has allowed more (11), in 100 1/3 innings. And opponents are battering Boskie for a .321 average.
Still, his five relief appearances leading up to his third start suggested a turnaround.
"Nobody made any guarantees about anything," Boskie said. "I can't decide for them. I'd just like to be given one role that would allow me to help this team. I haven't really been given that chance."
Pub Date: 6/21/97