Stresses outfielder Nick Markakis, "You're talking to the wrong person. I'm not superstitious."

But certainly, in a game where luck plays such a major role, some players do what they can to help the process along. Like rookie (and Baltimore native) Steve Johnson, who as of this weekend's Red Sox series had a 4-0 record and an ERA under 2.00. Come on, Steve, what's the secret?

Breakfast cereal.

"I had a good start here. I didn't give up any runs, and I had had a bowl of Frosted Flakes," Johnson says. "So every time I know I'm pitching, I try to eat a bowl."

Longtime O's fans will recognize that Johnson is following in the grand tradition of former catcher Mickey Tettleton, who caused a mini-run on Froot Loops when his wife playfully suggested that's where he derived his power. And then there was pitching great Jim Palmer, whose pregame ritual of eating pancakes for breakfast became so well-known that his teammates took to calling him "Cakes."

Johnson smiles at news of the company he keeps. "I don't do anything too crazy," he says by way of reassurance. "If I've got a good streak going, I try not to change anything — wear the same spikes, wear the same pair of sliders, wear the same stuff. But I wash them."

Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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