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Baseball
Tim Kurkjian
June 08, 1992
Is a Pennant in the Cards?
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June 08, 1992

Baseball

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Earlier this season Belle was urged by Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove to be more aggressive on the bases. Belle complied by getting thrown out at second base four times in six games while trying to stretch singles into doubles. Belle also complained—though not to Hargrove—about being the designated hitter, saying he wanted to be the every-day leftfielder. His play, meanwhile, suffered. He went 83 at bats without a home run, earning a seat on the bench for two games in the middle of May.

Hargrove decided to give his moody slugger a start in leftfield on May 23. "If it's that much of a mental thing, then we'll see," Hargrove said.

Hargrove got an eyeful. Starting with that game, Belle went on the most torrid stretch any player has had this season, going 14 for 24 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs in six games.

Short Hops...

Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson says his relationship with manager Bill Plummer is "shot" after Plummer called Johnson a "quitter" for taking himself out after two innings of a 13-8 loss to the Orioles on May 26. Johnson added, "I don't pitch for Bill Plummer. I pitch for myself, my teammates and the Seattle Mariners." Whatever, taking yourself out of a game is poor form, no matter who you're pitching for.... This season the Braves have won only one game in which they trailed by more than one run. On May 27 they overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Phillies 9-3....

Tommy Lasorda has done a terrific job of keeping the Dodgers together despite their many injuries. But why in the world would he call a St. Louis radio station 90 minutes after a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals on May 25 to berate a talk-show host and his caller for second-guessing a move Lasorda made in the game?...At week's end Yankee catcher Matt Nokes had thrown out only seven out of 49 would-be stealers (14%) this season. Since he's also no wizard at calling a game, the Yankees have to wonder if he's the man they want catching promising youngsters such as Brien Taylor, Mark Hutton and Ed Martel, who are all likely to arrive in the majors in the next couple of years.... During a recent 16-game stretch the Padres didn't steal a base and still went 11-5....

Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens's fastball was clocked at 98 mph in his May 26 start against the Angels. He's already the best pitcher in baseball, but there's a suspicion that he's now throwing harder than ever.

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