- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 25, 2002

BALTIMORE The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays spent more than 10 hours at Camden Yards yesterday, but this was no leisurely day at the park.
Few players, and even fewer managers, look forward to day-night doubleheaders the unfortunate byproduct of early-season rainouts. Nobody gets the day off when you're playing two, with the notable exception of the lucky pair who pitched the day before or are scheduled to pitch the day after.
Doubleheaders force you to stretch your pitching staff thin, both starters and relievers. And in the Orioles' case, that meant a spot start for reliever Rick Bauer in the nightcap of yesterday's double-dip at sweltering Camden Yards. Add to that an Orioles bullpen that is on the brink of exhaustion.
Bauer came through the minors a starter but has spent all this season a middle reliever. His lack of lengthy outings was all too apparent last night when he started strong but faltered late in the Orioles' 8-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
Combined with their 4-1 defeat earlier, the Orioles went from a .500 ballclub to two games under in near-record time. They'll look to earn a four-game split with Toronto in today's series finale and the final home game of the season should a players' strike occur Friday.
Bauer wasn't officially named the starting pitcher until the day's first game was completed, another byproduct of the doubleheader. Manager Mike Hargrove wanted to be sure Bauer's services weren't needed earlier in the day out of the bullpen; had that happened, minor leaguer Sean Douglass was available for promotion (he wound up watching the game from the stands).
Bauer made six starts with Baltimore late last season (including the final game of Cal Ripken's career) but has proved to be a valuable reliever this year, posting a 3.88 ERA in 45 appearances.
He showed that same form early last night, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters. But the extra work finally caught up with him in the fourth as Chris Woodward homered and the Blue Jays followed with four straight singles.
Bauer (6-5) pitched out of the inning, and managed to make it to the sixth. But he served up a two-run homer to Vernon Wells that made it 5-2, then departed at the end of the inning having thrown 92 pitches (30 more than in any other outing this year).
"You've got to suck it up," Bauer said. "That's the only reason I started today, to suck it up. I would have liked to hold them to only three runs through six, but I tried to keep us in the game as long as I could and just eat as many innings as I could."
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, sent Esteban Loaiza out to make his 19th start, and the veteran right-hander responded with eight standout innings. Loaiza (6-7) surrendered two runs in the first but allowed only Tony Batista's team-leading 25th homer the rest of the way.
The Orioles wound up with a total of four runs and 14 hits in the two games.
"We didn't swing the bats well in either game," Hargrove said. "After the way we hit the ball last night, to come into today and not swing the bats any better than we did is very disappointing."
The stadium resembled something of a sauna when the teams took the field for the afternoon game. Though the thermometer registered 89 degrees, the high humidity and lack of a breeze made for difficult playing conditions.
Travis Driskill only compounded matters by laboring through several long innings. The 31-year-old rookie is not one to keep his pitch count down, and yesterday he threw 103 pitches before being pulled in the sixth.
"It was a long day, hot and humid, and I threw over 100-something pitches," Driskill said. "You do that in five-plus innings, that's going to take its toll."
Still, the right-hander managed to keep the Blue Jays off the scoreboard until Eric Hinske doubled home Shannon Stewart with two out in the fifth. Driskill (8-7) opened the sixth by giving up singles to three of the first four batters, prompting Hargrove to pull him in favor of left-hander Yorkis Perez.
"Travis, throughout this year, has shown a propensity to start losing his stuff around 90 pitches," Hargrove said. "He started the sixth with 92 pitches and just seemed to run out of gas."
Driskill wasn't the only one affected by the stifling conditions. Blue Jays starter Pete Walker, who allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings, felt sick after the sixth and vomited before returning for his final inning.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide