Joe Strauss' O's week in review


Statistics throguh Thrusday

Eric Davis -- UP -- Without playing a game, he has lifted everyone around him. He is close.

The rotation -- EVEN -- Questions appearing at the least convenient time.

New autograph policy -- DOWN -- If you want your heroes to sign, you'd better buy field-level seats. Nosebleed types need not apply.

Jimmy Key -- DOWN -- Jinx or not, the finesse left-hander hasn't won at Camden Yards since May 7 and is 4-8 overall since June 13.

Randy Myers -- EVEN -- Has he been kidnapped? One save opportunity since Aug. 23.

Jesse Orosco -- UP -- With rare exception, has been solid the past two months. At age 40, he has 62 appearances.

Organizational depth -- DOWN -- Where's the beef? The Orioles almost traded for catcher Charlie Greene this spring. They couldn't resist taking him off waivers Thursday after a .206 year

at Triple-A.

Harold Baines -- UP -- Finding him time is Davey Johnson's challenge. He sat on Thursday with a nine-game hitting streak (15-for-28, .536).

Quote of the week

"You can't really complain too much because we'd been playing poorly for a week. And they had been playing poorly for a week. Coming into a series like this, somebody has to get better. Somebody was going to have to win. Both of us had lost five out of six. Somebody's going to lose. Fortunately, we played well enough the first three games to put it behind us."

Mike Mussina, after taking last Sunday's 10-3 loss, the Orioles' first in eight games against the Yankees.

By the numbers

5: Teams to go wire-to-wire during a season ('23 Giants, '27 Yankees, '55 Dodgers, '84 Tigers, '90 Reds.)

11: Balls right fielder Geronimo Berroa claimed to have caught in last Sunday's loss to the New York Yankees. Research revealed three were rolling at the time.

17: Consecutive games in which the Orioles homered. The streak ended Thursday.

15: Games above .500 vs. the AL East, AL Central and NL East (57-42).

20: Games above .500 vs. the AL West (32-12).

50: Cal Ripken's standing on the all-time hit list (2,708).

50: Club record for most road wins, set in 1980. The Orioles need only split their last six road games to break it.

.331: Brady Anderson's batting average after the sixth inning, 10th highest in the league.

.396: Lenny Webster's batting average in his past 20 games.

Stat of the week

The Orioles began a 20-game stretch against clubs with winning records on Aug. 29. Entering the weekend, they were carrying a 5-8 record in that span while showing disturbing wear within their pitching staff. In the first 13 games, Orioles pitchers had allowed 135 hits (10.38 per game) and 75 earned runs in 116 innings, leaving them a 5.82 ERA. The club ERA rose from 3.58 to 3.78 entering Friday night's game. The 3.78 figure is the club's highest ERA since May 1 (3.79). The bullpen has been especially worn, suffering a 7.52 ERA (34 earned runs, 40 2/3 innings) that lifted its ERA more than a half-run from 2.67 to 3.18. The rotation, 4-3 during the stretch, generated only six quality starts and saw its collective ERA jump from 3.98 to 4.06.

Moment of the week

Rick Krivda (4-0) saved an important week with his second consecutive strong start. After beating the Yankees in New York Sept. 3, he controlled the Cleveland Indians for 6 1/3 innings of a 9-3 win Tuesday night. Krivda trailed 3-1 before the Orioles' six-run sixth inning. Often criticized for not pitching tough at this level, Krivda has stifled two of the league's best offenses in the past 10 days. He allowed four earned runs in 12 1/3 innings in those starts after failing to clear six innings in any of his previous five starts.

The good

The Orioles came into this Yankees series having reasserted themselves against a team that embarrassed them last year. In last weekend's four-game series, the Orioles won the first three games while trailing in only three innings. Though they've struggled on offense most of the season, the Orioles had reached Yankees pitching for a .302 average, 15 home runs and 61 runs in nine games. They've beaten only Philadelphia and Texas pitching worse this year. Pitching has been more problematic. Through nine games, the Orioles had a 5.89 ERA and 130 base runners in 81 innings. Overall, the Orioles had a league-leading 3.78 ERA.

The bad

Jimmy Key absorbed the loss in Thursday's 14-2 drubbing to the Yankees and thought his recent problems at least partially solved. Maybe so, but his second-half numbers give reason for pause approaching the postseason. Key (15-9) won his first five home starts this season, compiling a 1.28 ERA. But in nine outings at Camden Yards since May 7, Key is 0-7 with an unseemly 5.57 ERA. In his first 14 starts Key was 11-1 with a 2.47 ERA. In his past eight starts, he has allowed 24 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings, a 6.29 ERA.

The ugly

Since Geronimo Berroa arrived in town June 29, right field hasn't been the same. Berroa again showcased himself Monday night in Cleveland when Manny Ramirez scorched a sixth-inning line drive directly at him. Problem: Berroa took three steps in, allegedly lost the ball in the Jacobs Field lights, then made a vain leap at the shot, which cleared his head by two feet. At least he caught his hat while center fielder Brady Anderson retrieved the ball. "I didn't think it was trouble until it went over his head," Anderson said, jokingly. Overhearing Berroa's problem with the lights, Rafael Palmeiro looked at a reporter's notebook and said, "Got anything about the moon in there?"

The week ahead

Tomorrow-Tuesday, vs. Indians: The most brutal two-day stretch the season has the Orioles playing day-night doubleheaders on consecutive days. The Indians will use seldom-seen Brian Anderson (3-1, 4.18) and David Weathers (1-2, 7.08) in the two afternoon games. The teams split a two-game series last week. The Orioles own a 4-3 edge against them this season, having hit .286 while checking one of the league's toughest lineups on 26 runs. Esteban Yan and Nerio Rodriguez will be among the Orioles' starters.

Wednesday-Thursday, vs. Brewers: The Brewers remain barely alive in the AL Central. Against the Orioles, they don't need any more encouragement, having won four of six games with the AL East leaders. The Brewers have stuffed the Orioles on a .209 average and 22 runs in six games. After pulling within 2 1/2 games of the Indians late last month, the Brewers receded to 6 1/2 back with 17 left. Finishing .500 appears a more realistic goal.

Friday-next Monday, vs. Tigers: While AL East bottom-feeders Toronto and Boston play uninspired ball, the much-improved Tigers are motivated by a possible third-place finish. They have a winning record at home and against the AL West a year after finishing 53-109 with only 27 home victories. The Tigers aren't threatening on offense but lead the league in fielding and rank fifth in pitching. Conversely, the Orioles rank first in pitching and fifth in fielding. Though the Orioles have won five of eight, the Tigers beat them three straight entering the All-Star break when the bullpen was in slightly worse shape than now.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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