Orioles' ups and downs

August 23, 1998|By Joe Strauss

Cal Ripken -- UP -- Hits in 10 straight games, passes Brooks Robinson for the franchise hit record and extends his streak of reaching base to 45 games in a row. Oh, yeah, The Streak hit No. 2,600 eight days ago. Shut up about range. He leads AL third basemen in fielding percentage.

Chris Hoiles -- UP -- Two grand slams in the same game earned his jersey a ticket to Cooperstown. Only Harold Baines and Eric Davis have been better with runners in scoring position. Give him at-bats, the RBIs will come.

First base intrigue -- DOWN -- The Orioles haven't budged from their recent three-year, $21 million offer to Rafael Palmeiro. Consider the alternatives: Hoiles, Ripken, Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn. Coincidence or not, Palmeiro entered Friday's game 2-for-24 in his past six games. The contract offer is considered "insulting" enough that Palmeiro's agent refuses to respond.

The Camden Relays -- DOWN -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays ran at will against two relievers and catcher Lenny Webster on Thursday night. It remains the Orioles' most fundamental deficiency. They play from behind at their own risk.

Harold Baines -- UP -- No one has hit the ball harder more consistently in critical situations than the ageless left-handed designated hitter. He leads the league in hitting with men in scoring position (.417), driving in a staggering 38 percent of those runners.

Roberto Alomar -- UP -- When ribbed about his sundry injuries last season, Alomar shot back, "Come see me in September." He batted .500 for the month. Now it's only August, and the second baseman has again found inspiration. The Orioles may soon re-evaluate their negotiating silence with the pending free agent.

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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