NEW YORK -- Shawn Boskie has made two relief appearances since coming off the disabled list Monday. Together, they don't add up to a full inning.
Together, they've given the Orioles right-hander two losses and a season's worth of frustration and anger.
Boskie set the table for Monday's meltdown in Florida by loading the bases in the fifth, the only out coming on a strikeout of Cliff Floyd. Boskie was replaced by left-hander Jesse Orosco, who walked in the go-ahead run and gave up a grand slam to Devon White.
The infliction of pain came much quicker two nights later, and this time, Boskie was the lone recipient. Starting the ninth inning with the game tied at 6, he retired Edgar Renteria on a grounder to second, then served up a pitch that Gary Sheffield hit over the wall in left field.
End of game. Beginning of the long walk back to the clubhouse.
Rather than take the standard route, Boskie went through the tunnel entrance beside the dugout, disgusted both with his failure and the resulting loss -- the fifth straight for the Orioles before last night's game in New York.
"Anybody who competes is going to be upset with that kind of thing happening to them," he said. "I was upset because we lost, and embarrassed, maybe, a little bit. I expected more out of myself than that. But today's a new day. I'm not going to dwell on that and allow those games down there to influence the rest of the season for me, which is probably the hardest thing for a professional athlete, to keep continuing to put things behind you. But you've got to. There's no choice.
"The disappointment I feel is mostly because we're trying to win, and you take responsibility for your part of what happens in the game. I think every guy does that. After the game, they're looking at what they did, the scoring opportunities and missed execution, or whatever. Everybody's thinking about their own thing. That's normal. I don't take it lightly at all, but at the same time, I've got to move on."
Even when Boskie, 30, didn't pitch in the series, he became involved in a situation that went against the Orioles.
With the bench almost depleted, manager Davey Johnson used him as a pinch runner in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game, then replaced him with Jeffrey Hammonds after a walk to Brady Anderson moved Boskie to second. Hammonds strayed too far and was picked off by Marlins catcher Charles Johnson, and the Orioles lost in the 10th.
Boskie (6-6, 5.77 ERA) probably will stick with pitching from here, and he'd like to be doing a better job of it, especially with such little margin for error in the latter stages of a game.
"It's like you just came in and made a bad pitch and it's over," he said. "That makes it tough. Nobody said it was going to be easy."
It's not after a layoff of more than two weeks.
"That's probably a factor. I'm not as sharp as I was," he said. "But that doesn't mean I couldn't go out there and be effective. I just didn't. There's really no excuse, no story I'm going to stick to and say, 'That's why it happened.' "
Johnson raised the possibility yesterday that Boskie may not be completely recovered from the right elbow tendinitis that forced him to be disabled on Aug. 16. He had pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, with eight strikeouts, before the injury.
"Physically, I feel good," Boskie said. "I probably could be stronger just from not pitching. And, of course, when you're not pitching, it's tough to maintain that rhythm. But I wanted to be in there [Wednesday]. It wasn't like somebody was twisting my arm to get in there."
Somebody was icing it after the game, in the privacy of the trainer's room, where he could try to digest what had transpired.
"That's the hardest thing to do, keeping the proper perspective on things when you're emotionally tied up like that," he said. "I tried to just keep control of myself. I want to throw furniture around and stuff like that, but it's not really the answer."
Told such a display of emotion isn't his nature, Boskie said, "I think it's my nature, but I fight it.
"I've been around awhile to know that I've just got to be ready whenever the next chance is, and look forward to that."
Pub Date: 9/05/97