Wild Starts Beget Tired Bullpen
CLEVELAND, April 28 — The Baltimore Orioles’ twin pitching woes during their five-game losing streak have been walks and an imploding bullpen, one problem that begets the other.
Baltimore’s bullpen has worn out because its starters haven’t been able to get deep in games and haven’t finished off innings, a result of throwing too many pitches. The Orioles’ five-man rotation has lasted 51⁄ in-
2 nings per start, tied with Seattle for second fewest in the American League going into Saturday’s games. Baltimore’s starters have walked 68 batters, most in the majors.
Adam Loewen, for example, leads the majors with 24 walks, five more than second-place Livan Hernandez of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite a 3.20 ERA, Loewen has yet to pitch past the sixth inning.
“We’ve got to get deeper in the ballgame,” Manager Sam Perlozzo said. “If you’re going to use [relievers] too often, their stuff is going to down a little bit.”
Jay Gibbons was out of the lineup Saturday night, riding the worst slump of his career. Gibbons has no hits in his last 21 atbats.
“Ouch,” Gibbons said. “I wish I had an answer.”
Gibbons has struggled to adjust to his platoon role with Kevin Millar, not playing every day for the first time in his career.
“What’s affecting me at the plate is my swing,” Gibbons said. “When I’m up at the plate, I’m not thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to get a hit or I’m not playing tomorrow.’ Maybe I’m thinking too much. I’m just trying to get my mechanics right.” . . .
Miguel Tejada played in his 1,104th consecutive game Saturday night, moving into sixth place on the all-time list. . . .
Scott Williamson, on the disabled list with triceps tendon tightness, threw a bullpen session Saturday at Class AA Bowie.