Orioles 6, Braves 5

Rating the players

April 01, 2001|By Joe Strauss


Jason Johnson: Last year's spring washout was this spring's Most Valuable Oriole.

Jay Gibbons: Hope he stays healthy so fans can watch him rake.

Delino DeShields: No one better embodies a team player. Position switch has given his career a second wind.


Brady Anderson: Accused of disinterest last season, he showed what a difference being healthy makes.

Willis Roberts: Jose Mercedes II?

Mark Wiley: O's latest pitching coach accomplished the improbable - he earned a tough crowd's respect in a matter of weeks.


Injury intrigue: Orioles have traded for eight pitchers since last June. Four are not fit to start the season. Three are unlikely to appear before August, if then.

The arms

The rotation sputtered in the final week, leaving Pat Hentgen and Chuck McElroy with exhibition ERAs of 6.00 or more. Adding Johnson, Mercedes and Sidney Ponson to the mix, the rotation was a collective 7-6 with a 4.37 ERA. ... Roberts went from nonroster invitee to Grapefruit League monster, striking out a team-high 22 vs. seven walks in 27 innings. Ponson faced 116 hitters in a team-high 27 innings. ... Of the Orioles' seven-man Opening Day bullpen, only Roberts (2.37), Ryan Kohlmeier (4.91) and Calvin Maduro (0.00) ended up with ERAs below 5.00.

The bats

Chris Richard (28) and Jeff Conine (26) finished among the AL top 10 in hits. Conine led the club with 11 extra-base hits, including three triples. ... Despite an offensive brownout the last two weeks, Mike Kinkade led the team with five home runs. ... Camp's unofficial Roy Hobbs Award went to Eugene Kingsale, who led the club with a .400 average in 50 at-bats, then became the final position player optioned yesterday.

The rest

Thanks to three ninth-inning runs against relievers Jason Marquis and John Rocker, the Orioles narrowly avoided becoming party to the Braves' ninth extra-inning game of spring. The Braves prepared for yesterday's game with a 12-inning marathon against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night. ... Despite his protracted absence with a fractured rib, Cal Ripken accepted as many walks (three) as did Anderson and DeShields all spring. ... The Orioles led both leagues with 41 stolen bases but also ranked second in the American League in double plays.

The quote

"It was very emotional for me to hear. It was like making the team for the first time." - Converted reliever McElroy, on learning that he had made the starting rotation after relieving in 603 of his previous 605 appearances.

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