O's beating up on bad teams


15-7 mark is encouraging as O's start long stretch vs. sub-.500 clubs


Washington -- A sports axiom says that to be a good team, you have to dominate those below you. By that measure, the Orioles are doing quite nicely.

Including last night's loss to the Washington Nationals, the Orioles are 15-7 against teams with winning percentages of .500 or below but only 5-16 against winning teams.

Now is the time to fatten up some more on the major leagues' bottom feeders. The Orioles have just begun a 13-game stretch against the Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, teams that stand a combined 33 games under .500.

"You know obviously, if we're struggling against the good teams, you're going to have to play well against the other ones just to keep your head above water," manager Sam Perlozzo said.

"You've got to beat the teams you're supposed to beat. There's no doubt about that," said Kris Benson, who pitched a complete-game victory against the Nationals on Friday. "It gives us a chance to stay in the mix, work it out to where we start beating the teams that have a better record than we do."

The Orioles were batting .305 and scoring 6.5 runs a game against losing teams entering last night but have hit .234 and averaged 3.7 runs against the winners. The staff has a 6.38 ERA against winning teams compared with 4.74 against losing teams entering last night.

Following dad's footsteps

Rookie Brandon Fahey reached another milestone yesterday when he started at second base on the same field where his dad, Bill, played as a Washington Senator. Bill Fahey caught two games for the Senators in 1971, their final season before moving to Texas.

Fahey said his dad never talked much about Washington or RFK Stadium.

"He was here at first, but then they moved to Texas," Fahey said. "When I was growing up, nobody knew the [Senators], so nobody much talked about it.

"It's neat to be here in the same place where he played," he added. "It's wild."

Fahey, who was called up from Triple-A Ottawa on April 30, reacted to every big league experience with wide-eyed amazement a few weeks ago, but the wonder is wearing off.

"I'm getting more and more comfortable every day," he said. "It's starting to be a more normal feeling, like in the minor leagues where you show up every day to the park and it's another day."

Fahey or fellow infielder Ed Rogers could be sent back to Triple-A Ottawa when second baseman Brian Roberts returns from a groin injury. Fahey has played more and hit better than Rogers. But the club views Rogers as more of a utility player and possibly a better fit as a bench player.

Roberts took batting practice yesterday, but Perlozzo said it's still unclear when he might return.

Fahey won't begrudge Roberts the at-bats. "He's an All-Star and I can't do the things he does," he said. "So I can't be mad at that."

Watching the brawl

Orioles players and coaches crowded around a clubhouse television yesterday to watch highlights of the afternoon brawl between the Chicago White Sox and Cubs.

"Ohh," they shouted collectively as Michael Barrett's punch landed on the side of A.J. Pierzynski 's face.

"That was a good one," Perlozzo said of the brawl.

He remembered his own role in the violent 1993 fight between the Orioles and Mariners that nearly cost Cal Ripken his consecutive-games streak.

"I no more belong out on one of those things than a man on the moon," said the 5-foot-9 Perlozzo. "You watch those guys from the dugout and you don't think they're that big until you get out there. I fall to the ground immediately, and I'm scared for my life that they're just going to trample me. ... I actually got a little scared on that one."

J. Lopez behind plate?

Javy Lopez might start at catcher today for the first time since returning from back spasms. Perlozzo wants to get Lopez at-bats and to rest Ramon Hernandez for an afternoon game after a night game. childs.walker@baltsun.com

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