The Orioles pitching staff is on the mend, and pitching coach Mike Flanagan is a happy man. The Orioles endured a tumultuous month in which Brad Pennington was traded, starters Ben McDonald, Kevin Brown and Sid Fernandez were on the disabled list, Gene Harris was traded for, then put on the disabled list, reliever Alan Mills was sent to Rochester and Armando Benitez and Arthur Rhodes were sent to the minors, then recalled to Baltimore. Farmhands Terry Clark, Mark Lee, Jimmy Myers, Scott Klingenbeck, John DeSilva and John Dettmer also saw action in June. So, with Fernandez healthy, McDonald and Brown on the mend and the bullpen solidified, The Sun's Jason LaCanfora spoke with Flanagan about the state of the Orioles pitching staff.
Q: Do you feel like the team survived the rash of injuries and pTC call-ups pretty well?
A: Yes, I really do. When Ben McDonald and Kevin Brown went down, we won eight out of the next 11 games. So, I'm pretty happy with what went on.
Q: How important was bullpen management with three starters down and new faces up from Rochester?
A: It wasn't so bad. I think really the emergence of Lee and Clark solidified our bullpen from some of the earlier problems we were having before they arrived.
Q: Were those two guys you always knew could get it done in the big leagues, or did they surprise you?
A: It wasn't a surprise at all. They were throwing well. All of the reports out of Rochester were positive. After seeing them for 80 days this spring, I was very confident in what they could do.
Q: Have you ever been around a staff that went through so much change in such a short time span?
A: It has happened frequently in the past. It's evolution, not revolution.
Q: Does having a manager who was previously a pitching coach make your job easier?
A: Oh yeah, because we can talk the same language, as opposed to if he was a catcher or a hitter, there would be a lot
more explanation involved. We can just cut to the quick.
Q: When this pitching staff is healthy after the All-Star break, do you feel like you can make a run at the pennant in the second half?
A: Definitely, I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could do it.