UPS AND DOWNS
* Peter Angelos -- UP -- He's trying to win and that distinguishes him from some other owners.
* Jamie Moyer -- UP -- He has been a life-saver.
* Bret Barberie -- UP -- His job for now. But check back in a week or two, because these things can change in a hurry.
* Leo Gomez -- UP -- This year, his slump was cured by an adjustment in his batting stance, rather than a call from Uncle Angelos.
* Alex Ochoa -- UP -- Who knows if he can really play. All the talk drove his trade value through the roof.
* The Wildcard -- UP -- Might be a backdoor into the playoffs, but considering O's playoff drought has reached 12 years... Who cares?
* Armando Benitez -- DOWN -- Who knows if he can really be a major-league closer. But the fact that the Mets didn't want him diminishes his trade value.
A Move That Paid Off...
Orioles manager Phil Regan went back to Leo Gomez as his regular third baseman, and Gomez has broken out of his season-long slump. The Orioles have 16 homers from their third baseman (Jeff Manto has 12), and in a regular 162-game season would be on pace to hit 30.
And One That Didn't
Last Saturday in Kansas City, the Orioles led 3-1 in the sixth inning, and Regan replaced starter Kevin Brown with left-hander HTC Arthur Rhodes. The Royals scored four runs in the next 2.2 innings with Rhodes on the mound to pull out a 5-3 victory.
"I think we can compete in ballgames, if we get a good-pitched ballgame. We can win a low-scoring game... For us to compete and go into September and win the division, I think we're going to need another hitter."
Orioles manager Phil Regan.
Stat Of The Week
Through games of Thursday, the Orioles' right fielders had contributed a total of two RBI for the entire month of July.
The Orioles' defense _ and in particular, that of shortstop Cal Ripken _ has been extraordinary of late.
The Orioles' schedule after this homestand. Three games in Yankee Stadium, four games at Fenway, a short homestand against Cleveland (and one game against Kansas City), then the long haul to the West Coast. They'd better get fat now.
Curtis Goodwin's on-going slump is complete. He can't get a hit swinging the bat, and he's even having trouble getting a bunt down, often trying to run before he actually hits the ball.
The Week Ahead
Monday-Thursday, vs. Toronto. The once-great Blue Jays are fading, and now there is talk of a complete overhaul. David Cone, Joe Carter, Juan Guzman, Paul Molitor and even Roberto Alomar may not be back. Jays have a very young and ineffective bullpen, and spotty starting pitching. But they've got the firepower to put runs on the board in a hurry. Orioles need to take three of four. Oh, and Orioles fan may take it upon themselves to make Alomar feel welcome; he's a free agent after this season.
Friday-Sunday, vs. Milwaukee. The Orioles' longest homestand of the year comes to an end against the small-market Brewers, who, through Thursday's games, were the front-runners to win the AL wildcard. Orioles pummelled the Brewers for three games back in June. Four of Milwaukee's starting five are rookies. Winning two of three would be satisfactory.