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Orioles' Cabrera inspired flattering comparison yesterday

Daniel Cabrera did it again -- he gave us one of those performances that keep us believing he can be an honest-to-goodness impact pitcher.

If you caught the Nationals-Orioles game yesterday on MASN, an 11-3 Orioles win that featured some actual two-out hitting (a rarity last season), you saw the good Danny Cabrera, at least for five innings. In those five frames, Cabrera allowed just two hits and erased those with two DPs.  But here's the news flash: one walk, five strikeouts and 44 pitches. In the sixth inning, it was a little of the bad Cabrera. He gave up a couple of runs and it took more than 20 pitches to get one out before he was lifted but we're not going to dwell on the negative. It's only St. Patrick's Day and if you look around the league yesterday, only a couple of guys went more than five effectively -- Carlos Zambrano (six) for the Cubs and Brett Myers (seven) for the Phils.

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In watching Cabrera yesterday, I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of and it finally dawned on me. Don Newcombe. I shouldn't admit that I can recall Newk with any clarity but No. 36 left an impression on a very young fan.

And I should amend by saying that Cabrera reminds me of Newcombe when Cabrera is throwing his heat for strikes. Newk was not as big as Cabrera but relatively speaking, comparing era for era, Newcombe at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds was every bit as imposing back then as Cabrera, 6-9, 270, is now. They both have this tremendous upper-body power that can be awesomely intimidating.

But while Newcombe got off to a fast start in his career, Cabrera has obviously been frustratingly slow to mature. In his first four seasons (127 games), Newcombe was 65-36 with a 3.57 ERA -- and then went on to win 47 more games in his next two seasons. Cabrera, in his first four seasons (116 games) is 40-49 with an ERA of nearly 5.00.

For the sake of Orioles fans, here's hoping that Cabrera starts showing a little more resemblance to Newk.

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