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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Pitchers rocked as woes mount
For the second time the starters are hit hard and the bullpen is worse.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published April 6, 2006
BALTIMORE - Devil Rays pitchers threw batting practice Wednesday night.
No doubt they were trying to get Orioles hitters out. They did not want to send their ERAs into the stratosphere. But they seemed powerless to stop Baltimore's onslaught.
Starting pitching, relief work, you name it. It all was bad in a 16-6 rout at Camden Yards.
"It's never good for your confidence when you get your ears pinned back," manager Joe Maddon said. "But then again, if you step back and really analyze what happened, maybe you can learn from it. We did not expect to stroll right through this situation."
The injury list also grew as reliever Jesus Colome left with right shoulder tightness after throwing four pitches.
The squeamish among you might want to cover your eyes at this point as we run down the damage:
Starter Seth McClung lasted just three innings and two batters, and threw an astonishing 95 pitches, before being lifted after allowing a personal-worst seven walks.
Brian Meadows, who relieved Colome, showed why the Dodgers released him last week as he allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits, including two home runs.
"I just didn't have anything," he said.
How's this for an inning? Meadows began the fifth by allowing Melvin Mora's home run on a feeble 86-mph fastball. Miguel Tejada followed with a single and came home on Jay Gibbons' home run.
One out later, Ramon Hernandez added a run-scoring single.
The inning would have been worse had not Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford ended the inning with a sprinting, diving catch of Brian Roberts' line drive with Hernandez on first.
That a portion of the bullpen imploded was not completely shocking. No one expected it to be the team's strong point, though the wisdom of committing a major-league contract to Meadows doesn't look all that smart right now.
What one would think already is a huge concern for Maddon and pitching coach Mike Butcher is ineffective efforts from the starters.
McClung allowed seven runs on five hits. Add the six runs Scott Kazmir allowed in four innings of Monday's opener and Tampa Bay starters have allowed 13 runs on 13 hits with 10 walks in seven innings for a 16.71 ERA.
"Bad day at work," McClung said. "There's nothing I can do about it. I can't go back to the third inning. I can't go back to the first inning. I put my team in a bad position. I let them down. My fault. I'll do better next time."
"I am not concerned. They're learning right now," Maddon said of Kazmir and McClung. "They're going to be good for a long time. It's tough to watch in the beginning, but I am not concerned."
There was some good news.
Travis Harper flirted with trouble in the sixth but got Kevin Millar to fly out to centerfield to end the inning with runners on first and third. And Ruddy Lugo pitched a scoreless inning without allowing a hit.
But Dan Miceli brought the good times to a screeching halt by allowing Nick Markakis' home run, his first major-league hit.
"It's only the second game of the year," Maddon said. "We have plenty more to go."