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Ups and downsPennant hopes -- WHO KNOWS...


Ups and downs

Pennant hopes -- WHO KNOWS -- Don't write them off yet, but get your pens and pencils ready.

The rotation -- DOWN -- At one time, this was supposed to be the

league's best, from top to bottom, right? Wow.

Kevin Brown -- DOWN -- He'll be impossible to replace in the rotation, and his absence will strain the bullpen, as well.

Ben McDonald -- DOWN -- Of all the times for him to get hurt, this is the absolute worst, because of Brown's injury.

Matt Nokes -- DOWN -- His angry parting words would've carried a little extra weight had his average been something greater than .122.

Andy Van Slyke -- DOWN -- A quick and seamless life as an Oriole.


Phil Regan -- UP -- Won big points in lunch with owner this week.


"I don't know what you call it. Call it strange. It's pretty much the kind of year the whole team's had."

Kevin Brown, after a line drive dislocated the tip of his right index finger Thursday night.

Stat of the week

Since June 8, the Orioles are 1-7 in games pitched by Mike Mussina, Ben McDonald and Kevin Brown, their No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 starters.

The week ahead

At Milwaukee, Monday-Wednesday: What wonderful tonic for a team in need of a break (although one could argue the Orioles would be tonic for the Brewers, also in need of a break). The Brewers played well early, but as everybody expected, they've faded out of contention. The Orioles lost two of three to Milwaukee during the first homestand, the first real sign that things were amiss in Birdland in '95.

At Toronto, Thursday-Sunday: The Blue Jays suddenly seem very old. Paul Molitor has a groin pull, Devon White pulled a hamstring, Joe Carter is having trouble catching fly balls, and the Jays would love to have somebody take John Olerud of their hands. Then there's their pitching, the rotation is a mess and the bullpen is just as bad. The Orioles took two of three games from the Jays here in May.

The good

Kevin Bass was almost resigned to the fact that his career was over in early April when the Orioles called him. He's become one of their best players, and has been perhaps their most consistent performer.

The bad

Before he was sent down to Triple-A Rochester Tuesday, right-hander Alan Mills made 21 relief appearances, and in each of those outings ' 12 lasted less than an inning ' he allowed at least one hit or walk.

The ugly

The Orioles' current rotation, Mike and the Mechanics. There's Mussina, Scott Klingenbeck (spent most of this year in Triple-A), Arthur Rhodes (sent to minors and recalled), Jamie Moyer (a part-time reliever) and Undecided in the No. 5 role.

A move that paid off. . .

The signing and eventual promotion of reliever Terry Clark has been a major plus for the Orioles' bullpen. Clark has yet to allow a run since joining the O's June 8.

. . . and one that didn't

For the mere cost of $750,000, this is what the Orioles got from Matt Nokes: six hits, two homers and six RBIs. That's $125,000 per hit and RBI, and $375,000 per homer.

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