- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2003

BALTIMORE — After ending a five-game losing streak the night before and beating Mike Mussina for the second time since he left Baltimore for New York, the Orioles were looking forward to taking the field yesterday at Camden Yards for the series finale against the Yankees.

What they weren’t looking forward to was what they got — a rainout that will contribute to a difficult August.

Because of continuous rain, the 3:05 p.m. game was called before the teams took the field, about five minutes after the scheduled start.

It was rescheduled for Aug.14 at 7:05 p.m. That means the Orioles will have two off days from the All-Star break until Aug.18 and will have to play 21 games from July29 to Aug.17, including a rescheduled doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox.

“It hurts when this happens,” reliever Buddy Groom said. “You want to keep the momentum going.”

If the Orioles, who have fallen to nine games under .500 (36-45), are to keep the momentum going, they will have to do so against the Toronto Blue Jays, who come to Camden Yards tonight for four games. Originally a three-game series, tonight’s game is rescheduled from a June17 rainout. Baltimore has lost four of six games this season against the Blue Jays.

Despite the Orioles’ overall record and a dismal June (8-18), manager Mike Hargrove insists he has seen enough positive signs to believe his team is progressing.

“There are some things we are disappointed about, but a lot more things we are encouraged about,” he said. “We are scoring a lot more runs, with a higher team batting average and on-base percentage than last year. Our pitching has not been as good as we had hoped. We thought it would be our strength.”

Because of yesterday’s rainout, the starting rotation was pushed back a day. Jason Johnson starts today followed by Pat Hentgen, Rick Helling and Sidney Ponson.

The rainout gives a slight reprieve to the bullpen, which suffered a blow yesterday when Hargrove said Willis Roberts, who went on the disabled list Sunday, will be out for at least three weeks with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow. His place in the pen is being filled by Hector Carrasco, called up from Class AAA Ottawa on Sunday.

Although Carrasco gave up a two-run homer during his one inning in Tuesday night’s 7-3 victory over the Yankees, Hargrove said he was happy to have the veteran reliever (456 major league appearances) available.

“Hector was a very good signing,” Hargrove said. “It was a big boost for us.”

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