Oates may split Mussina, McDonald with Fernandez


Two slots in the pitching rotation are set for the California series, the first after the All-Star break.

Manager Johnny Oates said Ben McDonald will get the first start Thursday night against Mark Langston and Jamie Moyer will start on Sunday against an Angels pitcher still to be decided.

The Friday and Saturday positions will be filled after the All-Star Game tomorrow. If Mike Mussina, who was selected to the American League squad, pitches, he'd start Saturday's game against Chuck Finley, and Sid Fernandez would throw Friday night.

If Mussina does not pitch tomorrow, he would start Friday and Fernandez would go on Saturday.

"I wouldn't mind getting Fernandez in between them [McDonald and Mussina] at all, if it works out, but it's not a priority," said Oates.

A lift from Leo?

Oates said his decision to pinch hit for Mike Devereaux in the ninth inning of yesterday's 5-4 loss to Oakland was more a nod to Leo Gomez's on-base percentage than a reflection of Devereaux's slump.

Oates said he had hoped Gomez, who had a .378 on-base percentage to Devereaux's .263, would get on, whereby he would have pinch run Jack Voigt, but Gomez struck out.

"We tried to scratch out one [run]," said Oates. "There are not a whole lot of guys around with outstanding numbers against Eck [Dennis Eckersley]."

Not what it seemed

It may have appeared that outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds and first base coach Davey Lopes exchanged words on the field after the Orioles' fourth and again following the Oakland fifth.

But both sides say their talks, one of which was broken up by Devereaux, were playful in nature.

First-half offensive recap

For the first time, the Orioles head to the All-Star break with six players (Chris Hoiles, Rafael Palmeiro, Gomez, Harold Baines, Cal Ripken and Brady Anderson) with double-digit home run totals.

The team's 113 homers are the second-best at the break in club history, trailing the 127 first-half home runs by the 1987 club.

Ripken, with 65, exceeded his first-half high for RBIs -- 60 in 1985.

Palmeiro's 52 RBIs ties his first-half best, but his .332 is higher than any previous first half. His 25 doubles are a club record before the All-Star break, beating Paul Blair's 23 in 1969.

Back together again

Yesterday marked the first time since the 12th game of the year that the Orioles used the same lineup as they did on Opening Day, save for the starting pitcher.

Getting over the hump

Yesterday's starters, Jamie Moyer and Ron Darling, have had recent troubles getting out of the first inning unscathed.

Moyer has allowed a run in the first in five of his past six Camden bTC Yards starts, and Darling, who earned his first win over the Orioles, has given up a first-inning run in each of his past five


One fewer All-Star viewer

Oates will spend today and tomorrow at his home in Virginia with his family, but he doesn't plan to watch tomorrow night's All-Star Game.

His son, Andy, who recently graduated from high school, will play tomorrow night in an American Legion game.

"I'd like to see him play. I'll probably tape the game to see what they [Orioles representatives] did," said Oates.


Anderson extended his hitting streak to eight games with singles in the third and the fifth. In his past 14 games, he is 25-for-60 (.417) with 16 runs and 15 RBIs. . . . Moyer has left four starts this year with a lead, but failed to get a win. Each has occurred at Oriole Park. . . . Oakland's Rickey Henderson is 0-for-19 off Orioles pitching this season.

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