Then there's Sutton, who has rebounded from a 2-5 start to a 2.77 ERA in his last 11 games. Candelaria will be a most important man down the stretch. He underwent surgery April 16 to remove a bone spur from his left elbow and didn't pitch until July 8. He is 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA since his return. "I'm trying to get the fear about the elbow out of the back of my mind," he says. Mauch bemoans the lack of a good fifth starter, but he should be able to finesse that deficiency. Moore's arm problems appear to be over. He has been overpowering, with five saves in his last five appearances.
The Angels' defense is the best in the league. They've made 12 fewer errors than the second-best defensive team, the Detroit Tigers. Joyner, the phenom who refuses to fizzle, is a wizard around first. Schofield is steady and sometimes spectacular at shortstop, and Gary Pettis is virtually guaranteed a Gold Glove as long as he prowls centerfield.
We're so exc!ted is the catchy advertising slogan for the club, but BUSINESS AS USUAL would be more appropriate. "There isn't the same camaraderie here that you'll find on teams of 25-year-olds," says Grich. "Even the young guys are quiet. But it's good because most everyone has been through these races."
Could Mauch's unfortunate record of 24 years without a pennant winner finally be coming to a close? "Yes, we're doing just fine," the skipper said on the phone to Autry on Friday. "We're not going to worry about anybody else. We're just taking care of ourselves."
The Angels might as well sit back and enjoy it. As Autry remembers from his Hollywood days, all cowboys eventually go riding off into the sunset.