REAP WHAT YOU SOW
Because winning 12 games is considered only a decent season for a starting pitcher, it's surprising to note that only five starters have done that well in each of the last five seasons: Los Angeles's Fernando Valenzuela, Detroit's Jack Morris, Cincinnati's Bill Gullickson, St. Louis's John Tudor and Texas's Charlie Hough. Nine of the 95 active pitchers who have ever won 12 games as a starter came up through the Dodger organization. Four are still pitching for Los Angeles ( Valenzuela, Bob Welch, Alejandro Pena and Orel Hershiser), while Hough, Don Sutton, Sid Fernandez, Rick Rhoden and Rick Sutcliffe are toiling for other clubs. Boston developed seven 12-game winners (including four of its starters), as did California (two are still Angels). The Mets groomed six; interestingly, three New York starters—Fernandez, Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda—came in trades.
There's a correlation here. If you're looking for reasons why the Indians and Athletics are having problems getting out of the gate, consider this: Oakland's only homegrown starter and 12-game winner is Curt Young. Cleveland developed only one of its five starters ( Greg Swindell) and only three active 12-game winners ( Dennis Eckersley, Tommy John and Neal Heaton), none of whom is still with the team.
Andre Dawson not only went 5 for 5 and hit for the cycle against the Giants on April 29, but he also fielded pitcher Roger Mason's apparent line-drive single to right and threw him out at first.
A SICKENING START
Before Len Matuszek went on the disabled list on Friday, the Dodger reserve was 1 for 15, and his son gave the chicken pox to Alejandro Pena, who missed two starts.
THE POLLYANNA QUOTE OF THE WEEK
?After the Braves lost three times to the Giants and grounded into a major-league record 15 double plays in four games, Atlanta manager Chuck Tanner said, "If you don't like the way the Braves are playing, you don't like baseball."
In the first month of the season:
?The only pitchers who had quality starts in every outing (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs) were the Astros' Mike Scott, the Royals' Bret Saberhagen and Valenzuela. The seven pitchers without a single quality start in four or more appearances were Milwaukee's Mike Birkbeck, Baltimore's Ken Dixon, Texas's Mike Mason, Minnesota's Mark Portugal, Seattle's Mike Trujillo, Philadelphia's Joe Cowley and the Cubs' Greg Maddux.
?The amazing Brewers didn't lose a game started by Birkbeck, Teddy Higuera or Juan Nieves (for whom they scored 26 runs in 24 innings). The Royals lost all five games Danny Jackson started.