McDonald is tired of hitting pause button


SEATTLE -- Orioles right-hander Ben McDonald came to the Kingdome on Tuesday expecting to pitch.

He returned to the Kingdome yesterday expecting to pitch.

And he will arrive at the Oakland Coliseum today expecting to pitch.

"I've seen it rain and sleet and be too cold to play, but the roof caving in, that beats it for me," McDonald said after getting his running in at the Kingdome yesterday.

McDonald is 6 feet 7. Generally speaking, the taller the pitcher, the tougher it is for him to keep his delivery in order.

"I definitely like to pitch every fifth day," McDonald said. "When I get more rest than that I get a little out of whack, especially in the first couple of innings."

McDonald (11-6, 4.26) started the season with seven wins in seven starts and was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April. He went 5-5 with a 6.36 ERA in May and June, and has gone 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA in three July starts.

Lost opportunity

Both pitching pairings for the postponed games would have favored the Orioles. McDonald had the advantage over Seattle's Dave Fleming (6-10, 6.75) and Sid Fernandez (6-4, 4.79) had the advantage against Jim Converse (0-2, 10.04).

"There's nothing you can do about it," Orioles manager Johnny ** Oates said. "That's part of life."

If the games are made up, the Orioles might have to face Randy Johnson. That sound you just heard was Rafael Palmeiro's batting average dropping. Or was it his name dropping out of the lineup? Johnson is the one pitcher in the American League who Palmeiro rests against.

Pitching scrambled

Oates and his pitching coach, Dick Bosman, sat in the visiting manager's office at the Kingdome and tried to squeeze the right names into the right dates with the right amount of rest.

And tried and tried and tried.

However they twisted the names, Bosman and Oates could not find a way to have their top three pitchers -- Mike Mussina, McDonald and Fernandez -- pitch in series against the New York Yankees (Aug. 8-10) and Cleveland Indians (July 26-28).

The best they could come up with was having three of them pitch in the four-game series against Cleveland and have two of the three pitch against the Yankees.

"We had our pitching set up for the next two months," Oates said. "Now it's all messed up."

When the Orioles return to Baltimore for a doubleheader Tuesday, McDonald will start one of the games. Oates said the fifth starter will start the other game, but he did not say whether Mike Oquist still would be the fifth starter by then.


In their past 19 games, the Orioles have hit .300 and averaged 6.9 runs per game. They have homered in 28 of their past 31 games, hitting 51 home runs during that stretch. For the season, the Orioles are 45-22 when they hit a home run and 8-16 when they don't. . . . The Orioles have allowed a major league-low 17 unearned runs, including two in Monday's 7-5 loss to the Mariners. The Orioles lead the AL with a .984 fielding percentage and have committed a league-low 53 errors. . . . Orioles pitchers have allowed the fewest walks (412) in the AL, the second fewest runs (412) and the third fewest hits (831). . . . The Orioles lead the league with an .821 stolen-base percentage, thanks largely to Brady Anderson, who has stolen 22 consecutive bases.

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