It was a bad week for umpire Terry Tata.
On Sept. 5, while umpiring at second base, Tata refused to move out of the sight line of the Mets' Eddie Murray, who was batting with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning of what turned out to be a 6-5 loss to the Reds. Murray argued about Tata's positioning with home plate umpire Ed Rapuano, who ejected him. Five days later National League president Bill White instructed umpires to move if a batter requested that they do so.
On Sept. 7 Tata accidentally hit the Reds' Barry Larkin with a bat, bruising Larkin's right ankle and forcing him out of the game. Larkin, who had been on deck, was moving toward the plate to give the "stand" or "slide" sign to base runner Bill Doran. Tata flung the bat from the plate when Astro catcher Eddie Taubensee forgot to move it. Tata was shaken by the incident. Said Doran, "Every time I'd come up, he'd ask me, 'How's Barry? How's Barry?' I told him, 'Next time, just let me step on the bat and break my ankle. Don't hurt Barry.' "
How loaded is the Braves' pitching staff? Their vaunted starting rotation finally hit a slump in late August, but righthander Pete Smith, recalled from Richmond at the end of July, stepped in: At week's end he was 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA. "Right now, he's their best starting pitcher," says one National League scout....
Mariner lefthander Randy Johnson, who had 11 wins at week's end, might never reach his potential because of control problems. He's had 12 starts this year in which he walked six or more. The Cardinals' Bob Tewksbury, who had 16 victories, had walked only 17 batters this season.