Game in review

March 30, 1998|By Joe Strauss

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 4-2 loss to the New York Mets yesterday at Camden Yards.

Ups and downs

EVEN: Scott Kamieniecki. Now the de facto No. 5 starter, Kamieniecki made his first appearance since March 19. He worked the fourth through the seventh inning and was roughed up for three runs in the sixth, leaving his Grapefruit League ERA at 8.64. With a two-run homer, Carlos Baerga reached him for his first extra-base hit in 58 spring at-bats.

DOWN: Anyone with a bat. The Orioles flirted with a third consecutive shutout and were held without a base runner through five innings. They scored in the sixth to end a run of 23 scoreless innings.

UP: B. J. Surhoff. Made the defensive play of the game with a first-inning catch and throw for a double play.

UP: Rafael Palmeiro. Ended the spring with 13 walks, fourth-most in the majors. Robbed of an at-bat in broad daylight, when he was tossed by umpire Jim Reynolds in the fourth inning.

DOWN: Jeffrey Hammonds. The search is on for the step he's lost in the outfield.

UP: Eric Davis. Finished camp as team leader in average, RBIs and runs scored.

EVEN: Donna Shalala. Throws out season's first pitch. Every other Cabinet member is booked for a grand jury appearance.

The bats

Of course it's only spring training, but The Orioles extended their dead-bat phase of camp with a four-hit effort against the right-handed tag team of Rick Reed, John Hudek, Turk Wendell and Mel Rojas. Over the last 12 games the team average tumbled from .281 to .256. After averaging 6.22 runs through 18 games, the Orioles averaged only 3.55 in 12 games after March 17. The Orioles were 19-for-92 (.207) during their three-game skid to end camp. After moving to first base, Chris Hoiles homered, his first in 40 spring at-bats. Tomorrow's projected starting lineup batted a combined .252 (131-for-519) this spring. Joe Carter endured an 0-for-4, dropping his spring average to .145 with five RBIs in 62 at-bats. Ozzie Guillen took a rumored career-high three consecutive pitches in the eighth inning.

The arms

Doug Drabek capped the best statistical spring of any Orioles starter with a three-inning tune-up. Three of the first four hitters he saw hit safely but from then on he allowed nothing. A notoriously slow starter, Drabek leaves spring with a 2.42 ERA and only three walks in 26 innings. Only Scott Erickson worked more innings. Scott Kamieniecki threw without back stiffness but finished spring with only 16 2/3 innings, fewer than Nerio Rodriguez.

The rest

Plate umpire Jim Reynolds made few friends in the home dugout with his wide strike zone. Rafael Palmeiro, Eric Davis and Cal Ripken took turns complaining after striking out looking. At least Ripken wasn't heckled from the stands. Third baseman Ryan Minor exchanged his No. 77 for a big-league No. 10 (last seen on Geronimo Berroa) before being optioned to Rochester. Infielder P. J. Forbes switched from No. 57 to No. 1 and outfielder Jesus Tavarez went from No. 78 to No. 32. The Orioles work out tonight under the lights beginning at 6. Admission is free to working media but closed to the public. Yesterday's crowd was announced at 29,107 but only 8,888 paid. Harold Baines played right field for the third time this spring. Roberto Alomar was hit on the left knee in the sixth inning but remained in the game.

Quote of the day

"I can throw with the elbow like it is now. It's not something that rest is going to help, in my opinion. If I have to make a throw to stop somebody, I can make it." -- Backup catcher Lenny Webster, who convinced team officials yesterday that his sore right elbow did not require time on the disabled list.

Pub Date: 3/30/98

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