Joe Strauss' O's week in review

September 28, 1997|By JOE STRAUSS

Statistics through Thursday

Ups and downs

Roberto Alomar -- UP --The Orioles can't win it all without him. Hit .500 in a recent 17-game stretch, but how well is his glove?

Kevin Malone -- DOWN -- Assistant GM landed on DL (hamstring) following ungainly outfield incident. Is considered day-to-day.

Scott Kamieniecki -- UP -- His last start was a memorable one. Picked up career-high 10th victory and division-clincher at the same time.

Cal Ripken -- EVEN -- The third baseman maintains his back is healthier, but the wait continues for his bat to recover. Last homered Sept. 7. He must provide a presence this week.

Randy Myers -- UP -- He has a 97.8 percent save conversion rate. After being overwhelmingly named club MVP by Baltimore baseball writers, the rest of the season must seem anticlimactic.

Rick Down -- UP -- The Blue Jays are interested in naming him Cito Gaston's successor.

Mike Mussina -- EVEN -- Can't complain about his numbers, but he must find wins.

B.J. Surhoff -- UP -- Has outrun a nasty slump. Had 12 RBIs in a 19-game stretch and a .321 average in a 14-game span.

The DH -- UP -- After hitting only .198 with eight RBIs in August, the spot was hitting .348 with 13 RBIs in September.

Quote of the week

"You want to rest guys because we're in the playoffs, and you want to be healthy because the object is to win the World Series. The object is not to be the second or third team to go wire to wire. Those things are nice but they don't bring on the importance you think because they're just goals and records that in this case don't mean diddly."

Davey Johnson, manager, before calling a Tuesday clubhouse meeting. The Orioles clinched the division the next day.

Moment of the week

The Orioles clinched at 10: 47 p.m. Wednesday night when Cal Ripken caught Blue Jays catcher Benito Santiago's humpbacked line drive. Their on-field celebration was mild. Handshakes only. Ripken presented closer Randy Myers with the final ball. Myers, however, fulfilled a vow by turning it over to his manager. Before the season-ending series against the Brewers, Johnson displayed it inside his locker in Milwaukee.

By the numbers

1: Randy Myers' blown saves in 45 opportunities. His save conversion rate is the highest since records have been kept.

6: Teams that have gone wire to wire, including the '97 Orioles. The others were the 1923 New York Giants, the 1927 New York Yankees, the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1990 Cincinnati Reds.

8: Games over .500 since June 16.

14: Years since the Orioles previously won the American League East. Among the division's former seven-team alignment (Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York and Toronto) only the Brewers had gone longer without a title.

21: Games since Cal Ripken enjoyed more than one hit.

54: Days since Tony Tarasco's last hit.

62: Orioles' stolen base total through 159 games.

73: Stolen bases by Detroit Tigers center fielder Brian Hunter.

356: Rafael Palmeiro's RBIs the past three seasons.

3,711,132: This year's record home attendance. Thank goodness for split doubleheaders.

.703: Winning percentage on June 16.

.537: Winning percentage since June 16.

Move of the week

Johnson hadn't called a clubhouse meeting all season. But with the Orioles seemingly stuck in cruise control, he calmly spoke for five minutes on the necessity for the team to regain momentum. The Orioles responded with a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays and 21-game winner Roger Clemens. Nerveless rookie Nerio Rodriguez took the win after the Orioles reached Clemens for three runs in the first two innings.

Stat of the week

Numerous injuries, illness and poor production have led Johnson to mix and match all season. In March, an Opening Day lineup was envisioned of Chris Hoiles catching, Rafael Palmeiro at first base, Roberto Alomar at second base, Mike Bordick at shortstop, Cal Ripken at third base, B. J. Surhoff in left field, Brady Anderson in center, Eric Davis in right and Pete Incaviglia as designated hitter. Entering the season's final series, those players had a combined 933 starts at their anticipated positions. (Palmeiro and Ripken own 308 of those.) The remaining 498 starts consisted of those players at other positions (37 combined games) or different players in the starting lineup (461 combined games).

The good

The Orioles began their final series with 96 wins, their most since a world championship season in 1983. They tied a club record for road wins (50) set in 1980. They set attendance records at home and on the road. They became the third AL team to win a league or division wire to wire.

The bad

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