Time of game. Major league baseball was supposed to be speeding up play this season, but the glut of high-scoring games has thwarted that effort. Through Sunday the average time of a nine-inning National League game was up from 2:44 last season to 2:48 this year. In the American League—even with Carlton Fisk's having retired, remember—the length of the average game had increased from 2:52 to 2:59. There had been four nine-inning games in the American League this year that lasted longer than four hours—including two in consecutive games involving the Indians, who previously had never played a four-hour nine-inning game.
The Ranger pitching staff. At week's end Texas had already used 22 pitchers this season, five short of the major league record. "But you can't project that number [to 44 for the season]," general manager Tom Grieve says, "because we don't have 22 more pitchers."
Bret Boone. Because the Mariners were unhappy with his range and lack of discipline at the plate, they gave up on Boone, their onetime second baseman of the future, and traded him to the Reds last November in a four-player deal. The 25-year-old Boone now plays a deeper second base to enhance his range, and at week's end he was hitting .310 with 49 RBIs. His father, Bob, a Cincinnati coach, never had more than 66 RBIs in his 19-year career as a major league catcher.
Pinch-hit homers. Last season there were 26 pinch homers in the American League, and no team had more than four. Through Sunday, 23 pinch homers had been struck, including four each by the Mariners, the Tigers and the Yankees. In the National League, where 53 pinch homers were hit last year, 30 had been belted this year, four of them by Howard Johnson of the Rockies.
Jaime Navarro. What happened to this big, young Brewer righthander? In 1992, when he was 24, he won 17 games and, after the All-Star break, had a 2.64 ERA. He entered '94 with the most career wins (58) of any American League pitcher born after '67. Navarro has exceptional stuff, but through Sunday he was 3-6 with a 6.88 ERA and had been relegated to the bullpen by the Brewers, who have been unable to unload him to a contender. The word is out that the overweight Navarro has bad work habits, and then there's the matter of his hefty $2.4 million salary.
The disappointing Cardinals. They were supposed to be contenders, but with a 42-42 record at week's end, the only thing they were chasing was the Rockies' big league record of 453 relief-pitcher appearances in a season. Through Sunday, St. Louis pitchers had four complete games and manager Joe Torre had gone to his bullpen 251 times. There were three Cardinal relievers—Rob Murphy (41 appearances), Rich Rodriguez (41) and John Habyan (40)—on pace to pitch in 80 games each. In the last six years only four National League pitchers had pitched in 80 games.
Free-agent steals. Oriole reliever Mark Eichhorn, signed for one year at $525,000, was 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA through Sunday; A's outfielder Stan Javier, signed for one year at $600,000, was hitting .291 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and 21 stolen bases; and Red reliever Jeff Brantley, signed for one year at $500,000, was 5-4 with a 2.44 ERA and 11 saves.
Juiced Ball Note of the Week. Blue Jay utilityman Darnell Coles hit three home runs against the Twins on July 5, giving him four for the season and raising his average 38 points, to .183. It was the second three-homer game of his career, and that's one more than Hank Aaron had.