Ups and downsScott Erickson -- Up --...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Ups and downs

Scott Erickson -- Up -- He's 4-1 while averaging more than seven innings and fewer than 90 pitches per start.

Mike Bordick -- Up -- At last count, has saved at least three games with his glove. What's this, an RBI?

Rocky Coppinger -- Down -- Needs to grow into his talent. And is he really healthy?

Rafael Palmeiro -- Up -- Entered weekend on 12-game hittin streak. Entered month with 20 RBI.

The Dominican strongman -- Even -- Armando Benitez throw batting practice to the Red Sox on Sunday and bullets to the Twins on Wednesday. Staff enigma.

Ray Miller -- Up -- Erickson's pitching like it's '91, Mussina like it's'9x and Scott Kamieniecki like he's been to Lourdes.

Kelly Gruber -- Down -- Davey Johnson rather leave him at Rochester than upset an injured but winning roster.

Quote of the week

"I felt the same thing happened last year. As soon as something happened in one of my starts, he panicked. It's one of those things. It's his decision. You accept it."

Rocky Coppinger,disgruntled starting pitcher, on manager Davey Johnson's decision to remove him after 4 1/3 innings Tuesday.

By the numbers

3.2: Average run support for Scott Erickson (4-1) in his first five starts.

8: Orioles' win streak against the Minnesota Twins.

12: Stolen bases by Go-Go Orioles entering the weekend.

19: Days since Alan Mills was placed on 15-day disabled list with pinched nerve.

74: Randy Myers' season save projection based on the first 24 games.

191: Numbers of innings Mike Bordick played before managing his first RBI as an Oriole.

7: Number of innings Bordick waited for his second RBI.

.238: Team batting average from April 15 to 25.

.394: Team batting average from April 26 to 30.

11,910: Average attendance for last week's three-game series in Minnesota. Wait till August.

Stat of the week

On Thursday, the Orioles won their eighth game with four or fewer runs. Last year, they had to wait until June 20 to achieve that many. Only 18 of the Orioles' 88 wins last year (20.4 percent) were pitching dominated compared with 8 of 17 (47.1 percent) entering the weekend.

Replay

Sunday -- Boston 13, Orioles 7: In a shootout featuring eight home runs, the Orioles failed to hold a 6-5 sixth-inning lead as the Red Sox raked the bullpen for eight runs and 11 hits in three innings. Arthur Rhodes' 11-game win streak ended as he was charged the team's first blown save. Eric Davis had two homers among his four hits, concluding a successful case for AL Player of the Week.

Tuesday -- Orioles 6, Twins 4: Brady Anderson's sixth-inning triple helped rally the Orioles to a four-run outburst and a rescue of Coppinger. Coppinger was lifted after throwing 110 pitches in 4 1/3 innings and complained about the quick hook by manager Davey Johnson. Said Johnson: Coppinger "is out of touch with reality."

Wednesday -- Orioles 12, Twins 3: Stoked by a season-high 19 hits, the Orioles scored nine times in the final four innings to shatter a 3-3 game. The win tied the franchise record for most wins in April (16). Scott Kamieniecki went 6 1/3 innings for his second win and Armando Benitez covered the final eight outs for his second save. Anderson produced another game-winning triple in the sixth inning. B.J. Surhoff contributed four hits as he and Pete Incaviglia homered back-to-back in the second inning.

Thursday -- Orioles 3, Twins 2: Pressing their AL East lead to 4 1/2 games and their league-best record to 10 games above .500, the Orioles rode Scott Erickson's walk-free 8 1/3 innings to a sweep of the three-game series. Randy Myers closed for his 11th save as the Orioles took the league lead in ERA. Rafael Palmeiro extended his team-high hitting streak to 12 games.

The good

The lineup bared its old teeth Wednesday. A makeshift outfield of B.J. Surhoff, Tony Tarasco and Pete Incaviglia combined to go 9-for-14 with two home runs, four RBIs and five runs scored. The bottom of the order was 14-for-21. Surhoff: "Everybody in this clubhouse is a major-league player."

The bad

The Orioles needed 3 hours, 47 minutes and 209 pitches from six pitchers to put away the Twins on Tuesday. Coppinger threw three balls to 12 of 20 hitters faced. Arthur Rhodes walked three (two intentionally). Shawn Boskie got one out and a win! Jesse Orosco, Terry Mathews and Randy Myers saved face with six strikeouts.

The ugly

First-base coach John Stearns paid the price for warming up Scott Erickson without protection before Thursday's ninth inning. Erickson one-hopped a pitch that short-hopped Stearns' er flank.

Moment of the week

While Bordick searches for the Mendoza Line (a .200 batting average), he gave a fielding clinic against consecutive hitters Thursday. With the infield in during the fourth inning of a scoreless game, Bordick saved Erickson on ground balls by Roberto Kelly and Matt Lawton. The defensive stand was huge in a 3-2 Orioles win.

Stat of the week II

Providing needed spin, the Orioles noted this week that although Chris Hoiles is 0-for-17 throwing out opposing base stealers, he has been behind the plate for five pickoffs by pitchers.

The week ahead

Monday-Wednesday, Angels: The Angels enter this week's three-game series with a woeful offense that ranks 13th in the league in home runs and ninth in runs scored. Left fielder Garrett Anderson ranks among the league's top 10 in hits. Catcher Jim Leyritz is hitting .348. The pitching staff has been led by rookie Jason Dickson, who threw a complete-game shutout in his first ** start this season and was one of six pitchers to begin the weekend with four wins. The Orioles haven't lost a season series at home to the Angels since 1978. Only once since then (1988) have the Angels won the overall series. The Angels never have swept a series in Baltimore.

Thursday-Sunday, Mariners: Many have already conceded Seattle the AL crown but they carried only a half-game led into the weekend over Texas. Ken Griffey leads the league in home runs (13), runs scored (25) and extra-base hits (19) and ranks second with 30 RBI. Shortstop Alex Rodriguez leads the AL in hits. The Orioles likely will see left-hander Randy Johnson on Thursday. Johnson took a 15-game win streak into Friday night's start against the Milwaukee Brewers. Opponents are hitting .195 against him. The Orioles won last year's series, 7-5, and are 21-10 at home against the Mariners since 1992.

Pub Date: 5/04/97

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