Sad State of Pitching, Case No. 953: Giant reliever Pat Gomez threw three consecutive wild pitches in the eighth inning of a 7-5 loss to the Reds last Thursday. His next pitch, like the three previous ones, bounced in the dirt, but catcher Kirt Manwaring was able to block it; otherwise, Gomez would have become the third pitcher ever to throw four wild pitches in an inning.
A League of His Own. One way to gauge a pitcher's effectiveness is to compare his earned run average with his league's ERA. Through Sunday the Braves' Greg Maddux had a 1.63 ERA, while the National League's was 4.18—a difference of 2.55. In major league history, the largest such disparity was 2.36, in 1930, when Dazzy Vance of the Dodgers had a 2.61 ERA and the National League average was 4.97.
Rocky Mountain Low. How many players have declined as quickly as Howard Johnson of the Rockies? After leading the National League in home runs (38) and RBIs (117) while with the Mets in 1991, he had a combined 14 homers and 69 RBIs in '92 and '93. This season he was benched on June 17 after hitting .215 with five homers, 21 RBIs and 52 strikeouts in 149 at bats. Last week Johnson asked Colorado to consider trading him.
Double Jeopardy. Through Sunday, Padre rightfielder Tony Gwynn had grounded into 13 double plays and struck out only 12 times this season. The last player to finish the year with more GIDP's than K's (minimum 400 plate appearances) was Bill Buckner, who bounced into 17 double plays and whiffed 16 times for the Cubs in '81.