Ask Orioles outfielder Mike Devereaux how much success he has had against the California Angels' Chuck Finley and the response is short of heartening.
"None," Devereaux said pleasantly.
It isn't quite that bad, but almost. Finley, the 6-foot-6 lefthander the Orioles will face in the second game of the series tomorrow night (7:35, HTS), has restricted Devereaux to one hit, an innocuous single, in 19 lifetime at-bats, while chalking up five strikeouts.
Devereaux isn't alone in his misery. As a team, the Orioles are batting .194 against Finley. Bill Ripken has had some success (.286) as has Randy Milligan (.300), although Milligan considers his 3-for-10 "so-so."
The Orioles consider it their good fortune that they were spared a confrontation with Finley when they were in California two weeks ago. He has a 4-1 lifetime hold on them, including 2-0 last year.
Finley posted a career-best 18-9 record last season and was second in the American League earned run average race to Boston's Roger Clemens, 1.93 to 2.40. He is 6-1 this year with a 3.86 ERA.
"He has command of his pitches," Devereaux said. "He has that good forkball that he keeps down and hits the corners."
Orioles batting coach Tom McCraw elaborated: "He has good velocity with three quality pitches -- fastball, forkball and slider. He gets ahead on the count, comes in with the forkball, the hitters take it and then he puts his fastball in the same spot. He's tough. Couple years ago in a game in L.A. he struck out 15 or 16 of our guys."
Finley will oppose Jeff Robinson (2-3). In the series opener tonight (7:35, Ch. 2), it will be Ben McDonald (1-2) against Scott Lewis (3-2). Jeff Ballard (2-5) will take on Kirk McCaskill (2-5) in the finale Sunday (1:35, HTS).