Cards 4, Orioles 3

Rating the players

March 18, 2001|By Roch Kubatko

****

Willis Roberts: A leadoff walk and single are followed by nine straight outs. Think there's room on the pitching staff for this guy? How about the rotation?

***

Brian Roberts: A single, walk, two stolen bases and a run scored -- all within the first two innings. Talk about coming on strong lately. His 10 runs this spring are one behind leader Mike Kinkade (11).

Buddy Groom: Extended to 2 1/3 innings, Groom is up to the challenge.

**

Jorge Julio: Takes the loss after allowing a ninth-inning run, but who could pitch in such a downpour? Why were the teams even on the field? He won't be judged by this outing.

*

Ed Rogers: Commits his third error while going 0-for-4. The average is down to .148. Continues to act his age.

John Bale: Slowed the game to a crawl while losing serious ground in the competition for a rotation spot.

The arms

Willis Roberts made a swift recovery after permitting the first two batters to reach. He struck out five among his nine outs. Once looked upon as a possible bullpen addition, the Orioles are thinking rotation with Roberts. Bale allowed three unearned runs in 2 2/3 innings, but much of the trouble came from him. He allowed three hits and walked three, and his errant throw to first baseman Jeff Conine ignited the Cardinals' rally. Groom allowed one hit and struck out two in his 2 1/3 innings.

The bats

The Orioles, playing with a split squad, tied the game in the eighth on a long sacrifice fly by Kinkade -- the ball reached the warning track in left-center field with the bases loaded and no outs -- but couldn't push across the go-ahead run. They took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a two-run double by Delino DeShields after Brady Anderson doubled and Brian Roberts walked. Kinkade (double), Roberts, Brook Fordyce, Conine, Tim Raines Jr., Larry Bigbie and Jose Leon each had a hit.

The rest

The Orioles are expected to make their second round of cuts after today's game against the Texas Rangers. ... Shortstop Alex Rodriguez, baseball's highest-paid player after signing a 10-year, $252 million contract over the winter, will be part of the Rangers' traveling party. This will be the Miami native's first game as a professional in South Florida. ... Pat Hentgen will start for the Orioles today, with Calvin Maduro, Chad Paronto, Groom and Ryan Kohlmeier also available.

The quote

"Probably in the doctor's best-case scenario, they want you to take the full six weeks and then start doing stuff. But for me, I'd rather judge how you feel and go from there." -- Cal Ripken, who is drawing closer to taking batting practice on the main field while recovering from a fractured rib.

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