Game in review

March 12, 2000|By Joe Strauss

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 9-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

DOWN -- Sidney Ponson: Labored through three innings but sees no reason for concern.

DOWN -- Al Reyes: Time to dial it up. Right-handed reliever has yet to look good this spring. Mike Hargrove is open to keeping both Calvin Maduro and Jose Mercedes.

DOWN -- Charles Johnson: Gave a tired defensive performance. Error-free in 1997, he committed two in the first inning.

UP -- Wady Almonte: Orioles minor-league Player of Year had three assists from right field. Next thing you know he'll be on the 40-man roster.

DOWN -- Radhames Dykhoff: Ponson's cousin struggled also. Left-hander's name is no longer floated as challenger for fifth-starter role.

UP -- Derrick May: Singled and tripled out of cleanup hole.

EVEN -- Fifth outfielder: Yesterday was Wayne Kirby's shot. Orioles still waiting for someone to step forward.

The bats

The Orioles participated in an offensive festival with two hits apiece from Mike Bordick, May, Johnson, Harold Baines and Jesus Garcia. Bordick hit a home run, one of the Orioles' five extra-base hits. Fourteen hits should be enough. Yesterday it allowed the visitors a brief 5-4 lead before the bullpen sprung a leak.

The arms

Ponson struggled with command in the strike zone and allowed eight of 15 batters faced to reach. Juan Gonzalez ripped a home run over the 420-foot mark in center field. Ponson has surrendered nine runs, six earned, in eight exhibition innings. More questions arose in the bullpen when Reyes allowed two inherited runners to score and walked two. He is doing little to make the club forget his difficult September. The day's second reliever, left-hander Dykhoff, was summoned to face left-handers Luis Polonia and Robert Fick, who walked and homered to reverse a 5-4 Orioles lead. Orioles pitchers needed 124 pitches in the first six innings. Referring to Friday's well-pitched win in Viera, Hargrove called the difference "night and day."

The rest

A makeshift lineup featuring only four projected starters gave the worst defensive performance of camp. Johnson was charged with two first-inning errors, a fifth-inning rundown was botched when Reyes was caught out of position and Will Clark was forgiven a boot to his glove side in the second inning. The Tigers stole three bases. Prospect Almonte became the day's marquee player when he threw three strikes from right field and contributed a single. The Orioles stranded 12 runners.

Quote of the day

"He was awesome really easygoing. He let guys play. He was a funny guy who kept players loose. I had a great time playing for him." -- Tigers prospect Eric Munson, who caught for Eddie Murray's Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

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