THE PADRES' STRENGTH IS IN THEIR PITCHING
The Dodgers and Padres began the season in Los Angeles with a series that revealed a lot about both teams. In splitting four games played before more than 160,000 fans, they each scored only five runs. With
out for a minimum of three months, the Dodgers were expected to have trouble scoring runs, particularly against lefthanders. Everyone knows that the first three starters for L.A. (
FERNANDO VALENZUELA, OREL HERSHISER
) can overpower anyone: It took the Padres 29 innings to get an extra-base hit. But the point that may have been lost is that the Padres' pitching should not be underestimated.
"I honestly believe that from one to 10 we may have the best overall staff in the National League," says manager
. After all, San Diego had more quality starts from its pitchers in '85 (98) than any team but the Mets (105). (A quality start is defined as any time a pitcher goes at least six innings and gives up a maximum of three runs.) For instance,
placed fourth in the league in quality starts behind
DWIGHT GOODEN, RICK REUSCHEL
. Dravecky didn't allow a run in either of his first two '86 starts, against the Dodgers and the Reds. "He's one of those guys who'll suddenly have a big year and everyone will ask where he's been," says Boros. "But he's been a swingman." Given a permanent place in the rotation and 35 starts, Dravecky, a lefthander who breaks more right-handed hitters' bats than anyone in baseball, could move into the 17-to-20 win category.
Dravecky is not the only formidable Padre pitcher. ERIC SHOW is much better than people remember from the 1984 World Series.
was an 18-game winner in '85. MARK THURMOND has come up with a quick slider to get the ball inside on right-handed batters. Boros is convinced that when the Padres need five starters,
will be ready. They also have a deal simmering with the Pirates for
. Padres G.M.
asked Pittsburgh G.M. SYD THRIFT for a list of names he wanted for the veteran, but when McKeon agreed to Thrift's request for reliever GENE WALTER and two prospects, Thrift asked for time to watch them play for Las Vegas.
and LANCE McCULLERS, Boros has two strikeout closers. He also has CRAIG LEFFERTS and Walter to get lefthanders. If Boros is correct about the pitching, the Padres' lack of speed and advancing age at certain positions become smaller concerns.
LOOOO IS IN FAVOR OF YANKEE YOOOTH, ETC.
As a hitting instructor,
was instrumental in giving such players as
enough room and patience to get themselves established. Now, he's doing the same with pitchers. Piniella is opening the season with
in the starting rotation, and he suggests that he may have
up before midseason. "He gives young players the feeling that he is with them, not worried what others think," says Pagliarulo. Tewksbury and Rasmussen each won his first start last weekend against the Brewers. However, with
down for the season, the Yankees will need another veteran starter.
is so unstable in the New York City atmosphere that Piniella will start him only on the road, using BOB SHIRLEY—11-4 lifetime at the Stadium, 2-12 in other American League parks—at home. Whitson has asked to be traded, saying that pitching in New York "is more pressure than the World Series." He continually tells stories of people tormenting him at his New Jersey home....
How much did the Burns gamble cost the Yankees? Nothing, really. The White Sox are now offering JOE COWLEY for a song, and
was a virtual throw-in. Thus the deal comes down to catcher
for 20-year-old shortstop MIKE SOPER, who might be in a Yankee uniform before September....
One of the most fascinating young players in the AL is Brewer outfielder ROB DEER, acquired from the Giants for two minor leaguers. The Dodgers had been trying to get Deer for two years. A hitter with tremendous power, he cleared the Comiskey Park roof in his AL debut. "It was a 1,000-foot homer—500 feet up and 500 feet out," said coach LARRY HANEY. He can run and is an accomplished outfielder. Contact is his problem. Through the Brewers' first week, he had struck out 90 times in 205 major league at bats. But among his 37 hits were 12 homers and six doubles....
Red Sox manager
, trying to alter the stagnant, negative nature of that team's clubhouse, is asking
to bring the FRANK ROBINSON/LEE MAY- EDDIE MURRAY
tradition to Boston. Baylor's first duty was to sit next to wandering OIL CAN BOYD on planes. Then he was asked to institute a kangaroo court. McNamara wanted to make a TONY ARMAS- TOM SEAVER
deal to further change the clubhouse, but his front office was afraid to do it without a name prospect. When G.M.
asked for outfielder
, the White Sox dropped the matter....