ARLINGTON, Texas -- You get hit hard once, it's just a bad day. Twice, it still could be a fluke. But three consecutive games of falling behind in the count and opposing hitters crashing extra-base hits all over the place, that qualifies as a serious problem.
Orioles rookie Jimmy Haynes was pounded again last night, allowing six hits, four walks and seven runs in just four innings, in an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. Afterward, manager Davey Johnson acknowledged Haynes might be dropped from the rotation. The juggernaut Orioles, who won 11 of the first 13 games of the season, have dropped three in a row, two to 12-4 Texas, which convincingly has taken over the label as baseball's hottest team.
Incredibly, center fielder Brady Anderson has led off all three losses with a homer. He hit his sixth homer of the year off Texas starter Kevin Gross to open last night's game, and later added JTC his seventh homer in the past 10 games. But it's meaningless, in the end, when you're giving up runs at a rate of about 15 per game.
"Well, when the pitching ain't good, it ain't pretty, is it?" Johnson said.
After the Orioles' 12-inning victory over Boston last Wednesday night, the club ERA stood at 2.55. Since then, it has almost doubled, skyrocketing to 4.78. "We're going through a rough spell," Johnson said. "We've got a couple of guys in the rotation struggling."
The Orioles allowed 10 runs to Boston on Thursday, 26 to Texas on Friday, and last night, Johnson needed Haynes to throw at least five innings and give his bullpen a break. But Haynes threw 99 pitches in four innings and Brian Sackinsky, making his major-league debut, took over in the fifth. The Rangers, who had 11 extra-base hits Friday, had five more last night, including three homers.
When asked how much longer he could be patient with Haynes, Johnson paused and said, "No comment."
Then he commented. "I'll talk with Pat [Gillick] and [pitching coach Pat] Dobson, and if we think [Haynes] is going to struggle, we might possibly put Arthur [Rhodes] in the rotation."
Another possibility, Johnson said, is leaving Sackinsky in the rotation. But Haynes may be on his way back to Triple-A. "The thing I'm most concerned about is what's best for Jimmy," Johnson said, "and what's good for him long-term. . . . I think he's getting a little bit tentative."
Haynes was working with a lead for the first time this season in the first after Anderson's homer. But he walked leadoff hitter Darryl Hamilton. Ivan Rodriguez singled, and first baseman Will Clark, who had a homer and a double Friday night, hit a three-run shot to right.
Just like that, three batters into the Rangers' lineup, Texas led 3-1.
Haynes struck out three of the next four and got out of the inning, but he continued his usual pattern of pitching deep into counts, walking No. 9 hitter Kevin Elster in the second. He walked Clark leading off the third, before Juan Gonzalez hit a two-run homer.
"I'm not myself right now," Haynes said. "I'm all off."
Less than 24 hours after the Rangers whipped the Orioles, 26-7, tempers seemed to be running a little short. In the eighth inning, Sackinsky threw a pitch up and in to Rodriguez, who spun out of the way and glared at Sackinsky.
When catcher Gregg Zaun batted the next inning, Rodriguez and he exchanged words, and were separated by home plate umpire Jim McKean.
"He said that pitch was [garbage]," Zaun said. "He thought we were throwing at him because of a pitch that came in on Cal [Ripken] in the eighth.
"The ball [to Rodriguez] finished up over the plate. I think he just didn't like it inside. Think about it -- if we were going to throw at somebody, it would've been last night, when we were getting smashed 26-7. Brian [Sackinsky] has good enough control that if he's going to throw at someone, he's going to hit him."
Pub Date: 4/21/96
Opponent: Texas Rangers
Site: The Ballpark in Arlington (Texas)
Time: 3: 05 p.m.
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Orioles' David Wells (2-0, 1.50) vs. Rangers' Darren Oliver (0-0, 5.06)