Davis stretches streak to 29, longest this year He closes on elite company

Oriole Notebook

live mike concerns coaches

August 15, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- While baseball continues its fixation on Mark )) McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's pursuit of Roger Maris, Orioles right fielder Eric Davis continues to quietly create his own space.

With his opposite-field third-inning single against helpless Cleveland Indians starter Charles Nagy, Davis broke a tie with Anaheim center fielder Garret Anderson for the major leagues' longest hitting streak this season. Davis has hit safely in 29 consecutive games, a franchise record now five games more than the previous mark held by Rafael Palmeiro. Davis today attempts to become the 36th player in major-league history to compile a 30-game hitting streak.

Davis has 15 multi-hit games during the streak. Since the All-Star break, he has hit .365 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.

In the last week, Davis has rocketed past Kansas City second baseman Jose Offerman and Anderson. Should Davis hit safely today and tomorrow, raising his streak to 31 games, he would be tied for the 20th-longest streak ever. Boston rookie shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar each compiled a 30-game streak last season. Paul Molitor is the last American League player to hit in more than 31 straight games. He went for 37 with Milwaukee in 1987.

"Pretty soon," center fielder Brady Anderson said, "somebody's going to ask about [Joe] DiMaggio," whose 56-game streak has held up since 1941.

Among the herd of 10 players that has stopped at 30 games are George Brett, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker and ex-Oriole Jerome Walton, who accomplished the feat with the Cubs in 1989.

Leading 8-1, manager Ray Miller removed Davis from the game in the middle of the third inning as a precautionary measure. Miller has fretted over Davis' frequent use in the outfield, especially since Harold Baines has been inserted as designated hitter against right-handed pitching. A trainer's report gave no reason why Davis should not be in the lineup today.

Who is Mr. Microphone?

Tomorrow night the Orioles appear on ESPN, meaning a clubhouse controversy will erupt over which coach will have to wear the dreaded live microphone.

Miller adamantly refuses to wear a mike after embarrassing incidents last summer when New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine uttered profanities heard by a national audience. Miller likewise didn't appreciate Fox TV broadcasting a mound visit last Saturday by Chicago Cubs manager Jim Riggleman in which he discussed his defensive alignment for an anticipated bunt.

"So the Cardinals have a guy sitting up in the clubhouse during the game like everybody does," Miller said. "How tough is it to run 20 feet to tell your dugout what's going on?"

The distinction has fallen to third base coach Sam Perlozzo until now. Perlozzo, also uncomfortable with the potential for embarrassment, insisted another coach will have the honor tomorrow.

When Perlozzo turned to first base coach Carlos Bernhardt, the Dominican native pleaded, "No hablo ingles."

Be assured some member of Miller's staff will be heard. Major League Baseball imposes a $50,000 fine on any club that refuses to get with the program.

On the farm

Arthur Rhodes will not be the only closely watched pitcher tonight when the Rochester Red Wings play the Richmond Braves at The Diamond. Rocky Coppinger will follow Rhodes' rehab start. It will be only Coppinger's second minor-league relief appearance. Coppinger is 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts. Darin Blood, acquired from the San Francisco Giants in return for Joe Carter July 24, made his first start at Rochester Tuesday. Blood took a loss after allowing two runs and three hits in two innings. He still suffers from a slightly strained groin. Blood was the 18th starting pitcher used by Rochester this season. Bowie first baseman Calvin Pickering was named Eastern League Player of the Week after batting .423 with six home runs and 14 RBIs. It was the second time in three weeks Pickering had won the honor. Left-hander Matt Riley continues to tear through the Single-A South Atlantic League. He tied a club record by striking out 15 in eight innings Aug. 9 at Charleston. Riley is 3-4 with a 1.50 ERA while averaging almost 16 strikeouts per nine innings.

Around the horn

First baseman Cecil Fielder made his Indians debut in the seventh inning of last night's blowout. The Indians signed Fielder after the Anaheim Angels waived him. They intend to play the big guy against left-handed starters. Mike Mussina avoided a rematch with Indians catcher Sandy Alomar when Indians manager Mike Hargrove replaced Alomar with Pat Borders an hour before the game. Alomar was scratched with sore knees. It was Alomar who lined a drive off Mussina's head on May 14. Catchers Chris Hoiles and Lenny Webster have each made 60 starts.

Pub Date: 8/15/98

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