Cabrera recalls Newcombe

The Baltimore Sun

Orioles pitcher Daniel Cabrera did it again Sunday.

He gave Orioles fans a glimpse of the pitcher he's capable of being when he throws strikes.

In the first five innings of a televised game against the Washington Nationals, he pitched shutout baseball with one walk and five strikeouts - and here's the best part - on just 44 pitches.

The sixth inning unraveled for him a little, but it is mid-March.

When Cabrera throws as he did Sunday, he reminds me of Los Angeles Dodgers great Don Newcombe. The hard-throwing "Newk," at 6 feet 4, 225 pounds, was as physically imposing in his era as Cabrera, 6-9, 270, is today.

But Newcombe's early career was much different. After four seasons (with a much better team but with a two-year military service interruption), he was 65-36 with a 3.57 ERA. Cabrera, after a similar number of starts, is a frustrating 40-49 with a problematic 4.99 ERA.

In seasons five and six, Newcombe was even better. He won 47 games.

Orioles' fans have to hope a little consistency would mean that Cabrera's breakout season is just ahead of him.

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