Orioles' ups and downs

August 02, 1998|By Joe Strauss

Eric Davis -- UP -- Orioles' "electric player" is a leading candidate to become club's second consecutive AL Player of the Month. When the competition is Albert Belle, chances look good. Davis is making a case for 1999.

Kevin Malone -- EVEN -- Pat Gillick and Ray Miller have lobbied for his promotion to GM, but nothing is ever that simple in the warehouse. Structural issues remain, and Malone continues to toil without a contract.

Jimmy Key -- DOWN -- Thursday's three-inning effort in Detroit answered few questions. His return from rotator cuff inflammation is remarkable, but by his own admission he has no stomach for becoming a five-inning pitcher. In his first start since May 20, he needed 80 pitches to get through three innings.

Pete Smith and bullpen -- UP -- Since being bumped to the bullpen, the National League lifer has been impressive in long relief. Gained his first AL win on Thursday. The bullpen faced the minimum 15 hitters in the final five innings Thursday after seeing the minimum nine hitters in three innings Tuesday. They ain't the Nasty Boys, but they're looking a little mean.

The schedule -- UP -- MLB finally fired David Stern as schedule-maker. Only two two-game series in '99. Now how about 7: 05 starts at home?

1999 payroll -- EVEN -- Word (for now) is that the Orioles won't hike a $69 million payroll next season. Then again, they also have made the case against an $8 million position player. Signing Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar -- Ray Miller says he thinks/wishes both could return -- would trash the stance. Pub Date: 8/02/98

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