TORONTO -- Maybe it's the postcard-size strike zone, maybe the ball is juiced, maybe the hitters are stronger, maybe the pitchers stink, maybe it's because the ballparks are smaller.
But the offensive numbers are staggering. Awesome. Babe Ruth would've been just another guy in the American League this year -- or on the Orioles, for that matter.
Just double the numbers being posted by the Orioles for the first 81 games of the year (They played No. 82 last night; barring any more rainouts, they officially will play 163 games, because of the six-inning rainout with Texas last month), and you get the picture. If they repeated their first-half performances, this is what some final numbers would look like:
Brady Anderson would finish with 58 homers, 126 runs scored and 116 RBIs. Anderson's career highs going into this year were 21 homers, 108 runs and 80 RBIs. Anderson would have 102 extra-base hits, or 43 more than his career high of 59. His career homer total coming into this year was 72.
Roberto Alomar would have 228 hits, 138 runs, 22 homers and 106 RBIs, with a .363 average. His career highs, before this crazy season, were .326, 109 runs, 17 homers and 93 RBIs. Alomar is on a pace to have 72 extra-base hits. His career high: 61, in 1991.
Cal Ripken would have 184 hits, 30 homers, 124 RBIs and 94 runs scored. Ripken's career highs are 121 runs, 211 hits, 34 homers and 114 RBIs. Ripken is a two-time Most Valuable Player and having perhaps the second- or third-best statistical season of his career -- and he's probably the Orioles' fourth-best offensive player right now.
Rafael Palmeiro isn't good enough to be an All-Star, but at his current pace, he's good enough to hit 42 homers, drive in 152 runs, score 122 runs and accumulate 194 hits and 82 extra-base hits. His career highs: 39 homers, 105 RBIs, 124 runs, 203 hits and 79 extra-base hits.
Bobby Bonilla's average was barely over .200 in early May, when he was unhappy about being the designated hitter. In spite of that slow start, Bonilla is on a pace to hit 20 homers, drive in 102 runs and score 102 runs. His career highs: 34 homers, 112 runs, 120 RBIs. The scary part is that Bonilla is just getting hot.
B. J. Surhoff fell in and out of a recent slump. Nonetheless, he's on a pace to accumulate 144 hits, 70 runs, 24 homers and 92 RBIs. His career highs: 151 hits, 72 runs, 13 homers and 73 RBIs.
Some Orioles pitchers are having good years, too. Mike Mussina is on a pace to win 20 games, which would represent a career high, and Randy Myers is on a pace to save 32 games.
Projected final statistics for major-league leaders as they head toward the All-Star break:
1. Anderson, Orioles 58
2. Belle, Indians 51
2. McGwire, Athletics 51
2. Sosa, Cubs 51
3. Rodriguez, Expos 49
3. Sheffield, Marlins 49
1. Thomas, White Sox 162
2. Bichette, Rockies 160
3. Palmeiro, Orioles 152
1. Burks, Rockies 148
2. Martinez, Mariners 146
3. Bichette, Rockies 140
4. Alomar, Orioles 138
4. Phillips, White Sox 136
1. Bichette, Rockies 232
2. Alomar, Orioles 228
2. Vaughn, Red Sox 228
3. Lofton, Indians 215
Pub Date: 7/04/96