Orioles' ups and downs


Willis Roberts -- UP --Finished April 4-0 with AL's second-best ERA. Is this guy for real? Detroit and Tampa Bay would say so.

Warning-track power -- UP -- Amazing what another 7 feet can do to a ballpark. Camden Yards is playing large. Home runs are now a dime a half-dozen.

Jose Mercedes -- DOWN -- At 0-5, he has gone where Scott Erickson traveled in 1999 and Jason Johnson in 2000. The big inning followed him for his first four losses; loose defense bothered him Wednesday.

40-man impatience -- DOWN -- VP of baseball ops Syd Thrift rushed Jorge Julio onto the major-league roster April 24. He was optioned seven days and two troubled outings later. Julio had made six appearances above Single-A before his contract was purchased. What's the hurry?

Jerry Hairston -- EVEN -- One day he's 4-for-40 and the next he's raking. Further proof consistency and youth rarely mix.

Bullpen -- UP -- Mike Trombley, Buddy Groom and B. J. Ryan have made the bleachers a safer place in late innings. Three straight perfect outings upgraded Ryan Kohlmeier's condition from critical to guarded. Josh Towers was deemed good enough to wear No. 35.

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