THE MILD, MILD WEST
The Western Division leaders, the Twins and Reds, are on pace to win fewer than 90 games each. Before divisional play began in 1969, only five teams with fewer than 90 victories won pennants. Seven teams have taken division titles despite not winning 90 games (excluding the strike season of 1981), but only one of them—the 1973 Mets—went on to win the pennant.
No NL West team had a winning record from April 30 through Aug. 1.
CANDY FROM A BABY
The Brewers tied their club record of five steals in a game in three straight games, July 26-28. However, the last two games were against Texas and catcher Mike Stanley. What does that mean? Not much. Ranger catchers have thrown out only 17 of 148 runners this year; 49 of 51 runners have stolen successfully on Stanley, including 26 in a row through week's end.
BUT DOES JOHN McNAMARA KNOW?
Perhaps the least appreciated lefthanded reliever in the AL is Boston's Joe Sambito, who underwent complex arm surgery in April of 1982. This year he has 1) prevented eight of nine runners from scoring from third with less than two out; 2) held lefthanded batters to a .175 average; 3) allowed just four hits in 33 at bats when runners were in scoring position; and 4) allowed no stolen bases, while picking off two runners.
THE NEXT PRIZE: THREE DAYS
The Giants held Instant Vacation Night on July 24. To be eligible, contestants had to come to Candlestick with their bags packed, because winners would be whisked away right after the game. One prize was two days in Philadelphia. The winner was a vacationer from New Jersey.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
?Boston G.M. Lou Gorman, on Don Baylor's request to be traded: "He's in our future, for the moment."
? Mike Schmidt, on what he'll miss most after he retires from baseball: "The french fries with room service."
?Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, to NBC's Tony Kubek and Bob Costas: "We'd have to be interested in [free agent] Cal Ripken."