O's Mazzone laments end of pitching era

The Baltimore Sun

When the New York Mets' Tom Glavine won his 300th game last week, Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone was left feeling bittersweet.

He was ecstatic for Glavine, whom he coached from 1990 to 2002 with the Atlanta Braves and considers one of the greatest competitors he has encountered.

"He did everything he could to help himself win ballgames," said Mazzone, who left Glavine a voice message of congratulations. "Just the mind-set he had and how he goes about his business separated him from a lot of other pitchers."

But Mazzone also is lamenting the end of an era. He sees Glavine as baseball's final 300-game winner.

"There ain't going to be no more," he said. "With the evolution of pitching the way it is now in the game of baseball, the 300-game winner is a thing of the past, just like complete games are almost a thing of the past. Much to my dismay."

After Glavine, next on the active wins list is the Arizona Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson with 284. But Johnson turns 44 in September and had season-ending back surgery. Then it's former Oriole Mike Mussina, 38, with 246 victories entering yesterday. Five of the next six with 200 or more wins are all 40 or older. The exception is the Mets' Pedro Martinez, 35, who has 206 wins but has been injured all season.

And, Mazzone said, there's little hope that the newer generation of pitchers will reach 300.

"Forget it, they are not going to pitch that long," he said. "They are not going to come up a day early. You are not going to have four-man rotations, you have too many stupid pitch counts, etc. So you aren't going to have that anymore.

"What we've done as far as Little League on up is created a mind-set of five- and six-inning pitchers. And you aren't going to get 300 wins pitching five or six innings."

Hoping brother's a keeper

Orioles center fielder Corey Patterson received one of the best phone calls of his career last week, when his younger brother, Eric, was recalled to the majors by the Chicago Cubs.

"I was happy for him. He has worked hard and has done everything that organization has asked him to do," Patterson said about his 24-year-old brother, a middle infielder-outfielder with power and speed. "He has had great years every year he has played minor league ball, so I think it is deserving."

Patterson, who turns 28 tomorrow, also started with the Cubs but was traded here after he failed to meet the high expectations of the fans at Wrigley Field. He doesn't think his own rough experience in Chicago should affect Eric.

"I would hope not," Patterson said. "I know he is a very strong-minded kid, very level-headed. I think whatever problems he has, which I hope is none, I know he will overcome them."

Big surprise

The Seattle Mariners, who swept the Orioles at Camden Yards last week, are in the thick of the American League West pennant race, making them the league's most pleasant surprise. But the biggest shock is that they are doing it without the expected production of their $50 million man, first baseman Richie Sexson.

Sexson, 32, whom the Orioles pursued as a free agent in 2004, has suffered through the worst season of his 10-year career. A lifetime .269 hitter entering 2007, he was batting just .201 with 17 homers entering yesterday and is platooned with left-handed Ben Broussard.

"The year, personally, has been tough. But our goal here is to win and that's what we are doing," Sexson said. "If I was playing well, we'd probably have won more games here and there. But now I haven't been playing every day much anyway."

Quote of the week

"As a kid, you always dream of this moment. Unfortunately, as a kid, you dream of being the one hitting the home run, not giving it up."

Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik, who Tuesday surrendered the record-breaking 756th home run of San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds' career.

Quick hits

Of the top 10 active wins leaders in the majors, those in places five through eight all pitched for the Orioles at some point in the 1990s: Mussina, David Wells, Jamie Moyer and Curt Schilling. ... Want inspirational? How about Rick Ankiel, the St. Louis Cardinals' once-phenom pitcher whose career fizzled? Ankiel, 28, hit 32 homers as a Triple-A outfielder, returned to the majors and homered in his first start Thursday. He had two homers in 87 at-bats in parts of four seasons as a major league pitcher.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad