Thursday, June 5, 2008

Orioles Team Report Jun 5, 2008

Daniel Cabrera is a completely different pitcher this season.

But the 6-foot-9, 270-pound right-hander is still learning how to pitch without his best stuff.

Wednesday, Cabrera seemed to lack confidence in his secondary pitches, as Minnesota scored six runs on eight hits in six innings against him.

Manager Dave Trembley thought Cabrera relied too much on his fastball during the outing. Cabrera has carried a dominant fastball throughout his career, but this year he has shaved a few miles per hour off his heater, and it has shown in his results.

Cabrera said falling behind hitters was an issue. He fell to 5-2, and his ERA rose to 3.98.

Cabrera has always been a workhorse, and he’s on pace for 240 innings this season. The only Orioles pitchers to amass that total since the club moved to Camden Yards in 1992 are Scott Erickson (‘98 and ‘99), Mike Mussina (‘92, ‘96 and 2000) and Rick Sutcliffe (‘92).

Even in defeat Wednesday, Cabrera was able to give an overworked bullpen an extra inning, going into the sixth for the 11th consecutive time this season.

Twins 7, Orioles 5: Bad timing for the Orioles to face Twins catcher Joe Mauer. The left-handed-hitting backstop went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a seventh-inning solo home run off Jamie Walker. It was Mauer’s second homer of the season—each coming in the past three games.

Notes, Quotes

• 3B Melvin Mora continues to devour left-handed pitching. The right-handed-hitting veteran is batting .319 against southpaws after going 1-for-3 with a solo home run against Twins LHP Glen Perkins on Wednesday.

• CF Adam Jones must like June. Jones is batting .333 (5-for-15) with six RBIs since the calendar turned. Jones, who was batting .223 on May 11, has seen his average climb to .251 despite an 0-for-4 night Wednesday.

• 2B Brian Roberts looks fresher since a day off May 24. Since then, Roberts is 15-for-45 (.333) and is 4-for-5 in stolen base attempts. Roberts has been on base or scored a run in 10 consecutive games and leads all Orioles regulars with a .268 average.

• LHP Jamie Walker has made a big-league-best 31 appearances. The Orioles’ left-handed specialist is the only southpaw in the bullpen aside from closer George Sherrill. Walker, though, has been more effective against right-handed hitters, who are batting just .261 against him. Left-handed hitters are batting .396 against Walker, and Joe Mauer’s home run Wednesday was the fourth against Walker this season—all by left-handed hitters.

• LHP Adam Loewen is slated to return from his left elbow soreness later this month. Loewen, who has been on the disabled list since April 25, threw 27 pitches in an inning at extended spring training Wednesday. Loewen, 24, is likely to go out on a minor league rehab assignment next week.

By The Numbers: 8—Outfield assists by right fielder and former college pitcher Nick Markakis, tops in the major leagues through Sunday.

Quote To Note: “I’m happy for him. He’s got a uniqueness about him that makes him easy to like… You take away the hair and the baggy uniform, he’s just a guy that can hit.”—1B Kevin Millar, on former Boston teammate Manny Ramirez’s 500th career home run, which came against the Orioles Saturday.


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