Once Again, Yanks Walk All Over Baltimore
Orioles Allow 13 Free Passes, Fall to 0-7 Against New York: Yankees 10, Orioles 4
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 23, 2004; Page D01
BALTIMORE, June 22 -- At the top of the list of things the Baltimore Orioles did not need Tuesday night on the heels of a demoralizing road trip -- above such things as a couple of long rain delays, a team-wide stomach flu epidemic and a new rule requiring each pitcher who gives up a walk to remove an article of clothing -- was a visit by the New York Yankees.
No team exposes the Orioles, if you will, more so than the Yankees, who have whipped the Orioles so badly so many times already this season it may legitimately be asked whether the Orioles' problem is as much mental as physical.
There was plenty of evidence to support such a theory in the Orioles' 10-4 loss Tuesday night, which dropped the Orioles' record to 0-7 against the Yankees this season and 17-46 since the start of the 2001 season.
A crowd of 49,696 -- the largest in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards -- saw the home team suffer its eighth loss in its past nine games and its 22nd in its past 30. Few of those defeats were as excruciating to watch as this.
Orioles pitchers issued no fewer than 13 walks, a harsher indictment of the team's pitching staff than even the three homers it yielded, two to Alex Rodriguez.
"Thirteen walks?" Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "Not good. . . . You can't do [that]. You just can't do it."
The Orioles already had surrendered 43 more walks than any other staff in the American League entering Tuesday night, and on this night they came in droves. Orioles pitchers walked the leadoff hitter in three innings (and hit the leadoff batter another time). They walked the bases loaded once and walked a runner with the bases loaded once. They walked at least one batter in each of the first seven innings.
Each of the first three Orioles pitchers -- starter Matt Riley and relievers John Parrish and Rodrigo Lopez -- left having walked four batters.
"Everybody knows," Lopez said, "that we're better than this."
Riley (1-3) lasted two innings, yielding three-run homers to Rodriguez in the first and Derek Jeter in the second. In two starts since rejoining the Orioles' rotation following a stay on the disabled list and a stint in the minors, Riley has allowed 11 hits and 11 earned runs in just six innings.
The beating sent Riley's ERA soaring to 8.56, but without better options in the minor leagues, the Orioles have little choice but to keep sending him to the mound and hope he gets straightened out.
"If I knew [what the problem was], I'd try to fix it," Riley said. The Yankees are "an all-star-packed team, and you try to be too perfect, and you just miss off the corners."
Meantime, Jeter, having broken out of a season-long slump against the Orioles earlier this month, is hitting .451 (14 for 31) against the Orioles this season and .233 against the rest of baseball.
Yankees starter and former Orioles ace Mike Mussina, who missed his last start because of a strained groin, needed a couple of innings to settle into a typical groove. By that time, the Orioles already had scored four runs, on Miguel Tejada's three-run homer on a hanging curveball in the first and Jerry Hairston's sacrifice fly in the second.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company