SI Vault
Peter Gammons
May 01, 1989
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May 01, 1989


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Mark McGwire. An even split.

Danny Tartabull. Seven for Tartabull, three for Boggs, two draws.

Joe Carter. One for Boggs, one draw.

3. If the Red Sox folded, which players would you want, in order of preference: Boggs, Roger Clemens, Mike Greenwell or Ellis Burks?

Clemens came out first, Burks second, Greenwell third and Boggs fourth. Only four managers ranked Boggs higher than fourth.

Not surprisingly, Boston's Joe Morgan is more enthusiastic about Boggs than his peers are. "We've got a monster lineup, but it sure would be different without him getting on base 340 times," he says. "We'd have to get a great pitcher to make up for what we'd lose—offensively and defensively. I don't care what others think. I manage him, and I know he's great. "


Before the start of the season, most prognosticators figured that the Athletics, the Royals and the Twins would be better than any team in the American League East. Some even picked the Rangers to get hot (page 16). But who could have guessed that the Angels would be playing better than anyone in the East except for Baltimore after the first three weeks? As Oakland manager Tony La Russa puts it, the Angels (9-9 through Sunday) are "a very dangerous team."

California's pitching fell apart last year, and the Angels finished with a 4.32 team ERA, the second-highest in the league. But at week's end the staff had lowered its ERA to 2.91. Pitching coach Marcel Lachemann credits two new catchers, Lance Parrish and Bill Schroeder, for the turnaround. "We have some guys who needed to rediscover that they have good enough stuff to be power pitchers," says Lachemann. "We've also got guys with outstanding breaking balls, but they were afraid to throw their best ones with runners on. Our catchers have done a great job getting the pitchers to let the ball fly, working inside and picking up curve-balls in the dirt."

The feeling in the Angels organization is that former California catcher Bob Boone may have stayed around too long for the staffs good. Indeed, one coach refers to Lachemann's work as a "de-Boone-izing" process. "Boone developed three problems," the coach says. "First, he called every pitch, and he tended to work off hitters' weaknesses, not his pitchers' stuff. Second, he stopped working hitters inside because he became convinced our pitchers couldn't get inside. And, finally, as he hit 40, he had trouble getting the tough curveballs in the dirt."

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