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The 1988 Streak
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  •   Orioles Lose, 12-1, Have Been Outscored by 30-2 This Season

    By Richard Justice
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, April 10, 1988; Page C1


    The 1988 Streak:
    Game 4
    CLEVELAND, APRIL 9 -- The manager, sipping on a soda and puffing on a cigarette, calmy sat in his office and said something about patience.

    "We all realize it's only four games," Cal Ripken Sr. said.

    His voice was even and steady. His Baltimore Orioles had just been leveled again, this time 12-1 by the Cleveland Indians, and while Ripken surely must be worrying about watching a season slip away so quickly he's not doing it publicly.

    On day one, his job security was shaky. Now, his Orioles not only are off to an 0-4 start, but they've been outscored 30-2. Today, they were on their way to a second 12-0 loss in four games when Larry Sheets punched a bases-loaded RBI single to center.

    Along the way, the Orioles have been outhustled and outsmarted. The people who run the Orioles might be able to live with Mike Boddicker (0-2) allowing eight hits and five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings or with the bats all falling silent at once (a .171 team batting average).

    They may be able to live with the Indians totaling 20 hits off five pitchers. Every Cleveland starter got at least one, including Pat Tabler's four, and three apiece by Cory Snyder (homer, three RBI), Willie Upshaw (homer, two RBI) and Julio Franco.

    They may be able to live with Cleveland knuckleballer Tom Candiotti pitching an eight-hitter and pushing the Orioles within two hits of their third shutout in four games.

    But how about such flubs of the basics as Sheets getting picked off base after a second-inning single, reliever Mark Williamson throwing the ball into center field on a pickoff play and Joe Orsulak dropping a fly ball?

    In four games the Orioles have allowed three runs to score on infield hits, two on wild pitches, two on balks, one on a steal and one on a walk.

    Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams was unavailable for comment today, but one of his top lieutenants is traveling with the team and taking notes.

    "It's going to get better," Frank Robinson said confidently. "We're going to start hitting."

    Today's game pushed the Indians to their best start in 22 years (4-1) and came in a game that had all the suspense of a boat ride across Lake Erie. The Indians had base runners in every inning and led by 5-0 after two innings and 9-0 after three.

    They batted around in both the second and third innings, and for a while the drama wasn't when the game would end but if it would end.

    After it did, Boddicker and Ripken Sr. complained bitterly about two second-inning balk calls, both resulting in runs. Ripken said the balks disrupted his pitcher's concentration and led to some bad pitches, but, even after Boddicker was long gone, relievers Williamson and Jose Bautista were battered for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.

    The day's trouble started innocently, with Mel Hall's leadoff single in the second. Boddicker got Brook Jacoby on a fly to right, and Snyder lifted a high fly into right-center. Fred Lynn and Orsulak converged on the ball, but it was Orsulak who let the ball tick off the end of his glove.

    Snyder was credited with a double, but television replays appeared to show that Orsulak should have caught the ball.

    "They were both going after it, and it was a tough play," Ripken Sr. said. "It was one of those things that the ball wound up in between them."

    That put runners at second and third, and Boddicker then got Jay Bell on a liner to second. But with Andy Allanson batting, Boddicker was called for the first of two balks, this one sending Hall home and Snyder to third.

    According to television replays, Boddicker balked. He clearly did not pause before pitching, which is one of the previously ignored rules that umpires say will be enforced in 1988.

    Boddicker didn't argue with that, but said: "I'd done the same thing on the previous hitter. I'd done the same thing the previous inning. The other guy {Candiotti} was doing it. I don't know. Maybe they're asking for me to stop four or five seconds. Maybe they're only calling it certain times. It did disturb me because I made a bad pitch to Allanson."

    Allanson lined a single to center to score Snyder with a 2-0 lead. Franco singled to right, and, with Upshaw batting, Boddicker was again called for balking.

    "Same thing," Ripken said. "He'd done the same thing on three straight pitches and the fourth one was called a balk."

    Allanson scored on that one and Franco went to second. The game fell apart after that. Upshaw, Tabler and Carter followed with hits to make it 5-0, and Ripken went for Williamson. An inning later, the Indians were all over him as well, with Snyder hitting a two-run homer and Tabler getting a two-run single to make it 9-0.

    The problems were compounded because once again the Orioles couldn't score. They didn't even get a runner to second base until stringing together four singles in the ninth, and of their regulars five aren't hitting .200 -- Jeff Stone (hitless in 15 at-bats), Lynn (.071), Eddie Murray (.133), Cal Ripken Jr. (.143) and Rick Schu (.091).

    By the seventh inning, Ripken was using the blowout as a spring training game, getting an inning for reliever Tom Niedenfuer and playing time for Carl Nichols, Jim Traber, Rene Gonzales and Jim Dwyer.

    Orioles Notes: Outfielder Ken Gerhart is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but probably won't. Although he said he's ready to play "but not 100 percent," he'll probably remain off the roster until Tuesday when the Orioles return home.

    © Copyright 1988 The Washington Post Company

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