With sinker, Drabek stays on rise He sets down 17 in row

Orioles notebook

Dodgers pound Mathews

March 21, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles' 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday will be remembered for the six dominant innings turned in by fifth starter Doug Drabek. Or it will be remembered for the one disastrous inning from reliever Terry Mathews that led to the right-hander's second defeat this spring.

First, the good.

Drabek extended his scoreless-innings streak to 15 spanning three appearances, and also didn't walk a batter for the third straight game. Eric Young led off the first inning with an infield hit, but Drabek retired the next 17 batters. He faced the minimum number over six innings -- the longest outing by an Orioles pitcher this spring -- because he picked off Wilton Guerrero after the Dodgers' left fielder had hit into a force play.

Drabek again had his sinker working -- five of his last outs were on ground balls -- and had good movement on his fastball, something he's concentrated on regaining this spring. He made one bad pitch, a hanging curveball to Mike Piazza, but got away with it.

"Everybody wants to do well, but I've had good spring trainings ** and gone in and had my usual four-seven starts, so I don't pay much attention to the results except for things I'm working on," said Drabek, who threw 60 pitches yesterday, bringing his total to 140 over the last 15 innings.

Mathews mostly has found success since working with pitching coach Mike Flanagan on keeping his weight going forward on his delivery, rather than drifting toward first base. He gave up three doubles and a two-run homer to former Oriole Todd Zeile in the eighth inning, then blamed a dead arm.

"I had nothing on the ball," he said. "The ball was back up. That's where they got the hits. Everything was about six inches above where it needed to be. Zeile's was a splitter I got up. I did all I could. I didn't have that good of stuff, so I said I'm going to throw it over the plate and hope they hit it at somebody."

Mathews was pitching in his seventh game. "This is the first time I haven't felt really good out there," he said.

Surhoff's style

If advancing a runner is included in the resume of any good No. 2 hitter, B.J. Surhoff did his job yesterday. But not in little-ball fashion.

After leadoff hitter Brady Anderson reached on an error in the first inning, Surhoff lined a double into right-center field, putting runners on second and third. Roberto Alomar followed with a sacrifice fly to left for a 1-0 lead.

Manager Ray Miller moved up Surhoff in the order as part of a plan to get the outfielder some extra at-bats. He also likes the idea of having a good contact hitter like Surhoff between Anderson and Alomar.

Playing time for Carter

Miller gave Joe Carter the start in right field yesterday and said he hoped to provide 11 to 12 at-bats for the veteran over the next few days. He's expected to play again today against St. Louis right-hander Todd Stottlemyre and tomorrow against Montreal left-hander Carlos Perez.

This represents a significant change for Carter, whose playing time has been sporadic. He's batting .158 (6-for-38) with two homers and five RBIs after going 0-for-4 yesterday.

"I've got to get Carter going. He's got 30-some at-bats, but it doesn't seem like there's been any consistent role," Miller said.

"I definitely need to play more," Carter said. "I don't like sitting."

Pitch for cancer research

Three generations of players in the Orioles' organization who have been affected by colon cancer -- Eric Davis, Boog Powell and minor-league outfielder Joel Stephens -- will throw out first pitches at the exhibition game against the New York Mets on March 29 at Oriole Park. And $3 from each ticket will be split between the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center and the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland Medical System.

The 1: 35 p.m. game will also be "family day," meaning adults who buy a ticket may get a free ticket for a child, 14 and under.

Around the horn

Pitcher Matt Snyder was reassigned to the minor-league camp in Sarasota, Fla.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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