Thursday, June 25, 2020

Orioles Victory Card Number Twenty-Seven (1987 Season Edition): Getting behind and trying to catch up

Baltimore Orioles Victory #27: 9-2 over the Oakland A's

1992 Donruss Triple Play Cal Ripken Jr. Little Hotshots

With the sporting world on hold due to the novel coronavirus shutting down the world for a few months we here at The Hopeful Chase are going to our rain delay programming. For the last two seasons we've posted a baseball card following every Baltimore Orioles victory (I know, talk about the minimum commitment required). It's fun and keeps us writing about baseball and collecting. Rather than sit back and stare forlornly at the outside world we've decided to continue the series with a season from the past.  The season of choice - 1987. Please enjoy.

Welcome to the return of the lazy blogger. It's hard to believe that June is almost over and I've only posted a few times here. Well, today's post is going to be short as I try to catch up (based on the O's record in June of 1987 it won't be hard).

Let's update this post a little with how the 1987 Orioles are doing on their current homestand (at least by this timeline). The answer - not great. Despite finishing up May with a record number of home runs - 58 - their pitching has abandoned them after the West Coast trip.

Before Mike Boddicker (who else) stepped up to stop the losing streak, the Orioles starters a 9.00 ERA in the previous six games at home. Not a single starter made it out of the sixth inning and the staff as a whole had surrendered 49 runs in those six games while allowing opposing hitters a lofty .347 batting average. 

Scott McGregor, who had been booed off the mound after only lasting 2/3 of inning in his latest start, was the most glaring example of the Orioles pitching futility, drawing the ire of his General Manager: "I'm concerned about that guy out there tonight." Hank Peters was quoted as saying following McGregor's sub-par outing. In his last three starts the veteran lefty had compiled an ERA over 14.00 in just 8 1/3 innings. Not great.

The rookies (John Habyan, Eric Bell, and Jeff Ballard) all had rocky starts as well as they continued to learn their job at the highest level. Peters was working the phones looking for help since Rochester had been bled dry by the call-ups. Mike Flanagan was dealing with a sore arm and was weeks away from returning. It had gotten to the point that manager Cal Ripken, Sr. started entertaining the idea of having Dave Schmidt join the rotation. 

As the ERAs soared, the O's spot in the standings was dropping. Milwaukee leapfrogged them in the standings placing the Os in fourth place, now five games back of the Yankees. Things aren't going to get better.

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