Dave Fleming was on the verge of establishing himself as one of the best young left-handed starters in baseball.
His 17 wins in 1992 were second only to Tom Glavine in the major leagues. Fleming set a Seattle club record that year with four shutouts and nine consecutive wins.
Even last year, when he missed the first six weeks with an inflamed left elbow, Fleming still won 12 of 17 decisions. He also put together 18 straight scoreless innings from June 7 to June 18.
Fleming's 30-15 career record (.667) in his first two seasons was the 13th best winning percentage with a minimum of 30 victories. But Fleming (6-10) is now on the verge of falling apart.
Fleming, who had a career record of 13-6 with a 3.72 ERA at the Kingdome before this season, is struggling at home with a 2-5, 6.93 ERA mark this year. In his last start, Fleming had a no-decision, but gave up four runs on seven hits against the Yankees at the Kingdome.
On the road, Fleming's luck doesn't change. Although his record is 4-5 away from the Kingdome, his ERA is 6.56.
The Orioles are among the long list of teams that have abused Fleming. The league is batting .307 against Fleming, who has a 3-3 career record vs. the Orioles. On April 22, the Orioles batted around in a four-run first inning against him.
Like Fleming, the Orioles have had problems at the Kingdome. The Orioles, who lost two of three to the Mariners earlier this year before last night's setback, have yet to win a season series at Seattle since 1989.
They hope to tie up this series tonight, sending Ben McDonald to the mound. McDonald is on the upswing, allowing one run in eight innings at California last Thursday. That victory improved his road record to 7-3.