Closer Doug Jones is the closest thing the Orioles have to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jones has excelled on the road, compiling a 1.53 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. But at home, Jones' ERA balloons to 6.11 in 17 2/3 .
Why the discrepancy?
"I don't know why that is," said Orioles manager Phil Regan. "I can't explain it. If we were in Minnesota, I could say it was because of a bad ballpark."
Jones does not have any answers, either. He said the pressure of pitching at home in the late innings does not make him nervous. If anything, it pumps him up.
"Usually, it's a lot more fun with the home crowd," said Jones, who has 18 saves in 21 opportunities. "There's a little more excitement involved. I don't see any reason for the difference home or away. I approach each situation the same at home as on the road."
Wednesday night, Jones surrendered a two-run single in the eighth and a leadoff home run in the ninth before closing out the order in the Orioles' 7-6 victory.
"Earned-run average is not as big of a concern as inherited runners or holding a lead," Jones said. "When you only pitch a limited amount of innings, you can get hit hard in only one or two games and your ERA jumps up."
McDonald results, Part II
The results of Ben McDonald's latest medical tests concur with the Orioles' earlier diagnosis of his shoulder injury. McDonald, who was examined by team doctors and placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with recurring tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, flew to California Wednesday to see Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' team doctor, for a second opinion.
Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said Yocum's test results are similar to those of Dr. Thomas Andrews, who first examined McDonald. He is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 4 and returned from the West Coast last night to begin his rehabilitation.
Regan said Rochester's Rick Krivda is a likely candidate to take McDonald's start tomorrow. If he pitches well, Krivda may stay for more than just one start, Regan said.
Borowski awaits second chance
Joe Borowski has pitched only one inning with the Orioles, but he is becoming a major-league traveler.
Borowski made a scoreless major-league debut July 9 in Chicago, after being recalled from Double-A Bowie one day earlier. After a brief stay and demotion, Borowski returned to Baltimore again when McDonald went on the disabled list. This time he was recalled from the Triple-A Red Wings, who were playing in Norfolk, Va.
"It was a pleasant surprise for me to get called back up so soon," Borowski said. "I was sleeping in a hotel room when I got the call, but I woke up real quick and got to the airport."
Borowski said he is less nervous in his second stint with the Orioles, but the travel does become a hassle.
"The biggest problem with going up and down is the travel," Borowski said. "But as long as I keep ending up here, it will all be worth it."
Greg Zaun, the Orioles' superstitious catcher, is no longer content to keep his lucky horseshoe on his locker.
He got the horseshoe in Rochester and then went on a hitting tear that culminated in his Orioles promotion.
Zaun took the trinket on the Orioles' road trip last week, and had a career-high four RBIs on Friday and a career-best three hits Saturday.
Now, Zaun carries the horseshoe in his equipment bag, and keeps it with him throughout his journeys to the bullpen or the dugout.
"I keep it with me all the time now," Zaun said. "It works a little bit better. This way, I can take it anywhere I go. I gave it a good workout on the road."
Close call for Tettleton
For Rangers veteran Mickey Tettleton, the Oklahoma City bombing struck too close to home.
Tettleton, who spent three seasons with the Orioles, was born in Oklahoma City and now resides in Pauls Valley, Okla. His wife and daughter work in office buildings approximately 10 minutes away from where the explosion occurred.
"They basically said it felt like there was a clap of thunder, and they were a few miles away," he said.
Rangers remain confident
Even before ending their 10-game losing streak, the Rangers were confident they could win the AL West, despite trailing the California Angels by eight games.
"Nobody feels sorry for us, so why should we feel sorry for ourselves?" said reliever Roger McDowell. "Nobody cares if we lost two or 10 in a row. We believe we can win our division. We're still in second place."