- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The slumping Milwaukee Braves , hampered all year by inadequate batting and fielding at second base, found the loss of Shortstop Johnny Logan (.332 BA) too much to overcome. Four different men were used at second and short last week, and between them they managed to bat .194 and knock in two runs while making six errors. The San Francisco Giants finally got some of the heavy hitting they were supposed to get all along, and the team charged merrily into the lead...for a day. Sam Jones threw a heartbreaking one-hitter and Johnny Antonelli a five-hit shutout as the pitching staff continued to surprise everybody (lowest ERA in the majors). Manager Rigney got so excited he proclaimed confidently: "I think we can go all the way. My young bulls have the taste of first place and they like it." Everyone on the Los Angeles Dodgers stopped hitting all at once, and a lot of good pitching by the team's young rocket throwers was wasted. The Pittsburgh Pirates , who seem to specialize in one-run games, won three more last week, courtesy of Team Captain Dick Groat. Benched earlier in the season for weak hitting, Groat whacked a ninth-inning homer to beat the Phils, a 10th-inning bases-loaded single to beat the Braves and two triples and a single to beat the Reds. The Chicago Cubs hung in there at the .500 level despite little help so far from Powermen Long, Walls, Thomson and Moryn. The Cubs' punch has come from Ernie Banks, as expected, and from Second Baseman Tony Taylor, surprisingly. A .235 hitter last year and unsure in the field, Taylor developed into a fine fielder and is batting over .300. Everything happened to the St. Louis Cardinals .
In one game two balls got into play at the same time (see page 26). In another, a home-town fan leaped out of the stands and punched an umpire in the face. Volatile Manager Hemus got booted out of his fifth game (a new half-season record for a rookie manager) and suspended for five days. The pitching was shaky, and the team lost more often than it won. The Cincinnati Reds , who are desperate for some pitching help (most runs allowed in the league), were heartened when rookie bonus pitcher Jim O'Toole finally won his first game. "Just blaze away and don't worry about the walks," veteran Johnny Temple advised the youngster before the game. "You'll walk more if you take something off your pitches than if you just throw hard and find your groove." It worked. The Philadelphia Phillies got some good pitching from Conley and Roberts and, as a consequence, won a few ball games. "It's this way," said Manager Sawyer. "We seldom score many runs, and the team will give the opposition four and five outs an inning. So it's up to our pitchers to handle the main burden."
Standings: Mil 44-33, SF 46-35, LA 47-37, Pitt 43-39, Chi 39-41, St L 37-42, Cin 35-45, Phil 29-48.
The Cleveland Indians were once again rolling smoothly along. The team hit hard and often. Enigmatic Herb Score was back in business as a spectacular winning pitcher (he followed up a brilliant two-hit shutout by striking out 14 batters). The Chicago White Sox (see page 48) finally found some power. And it was in Al Smith's bat all along. He hit a grand slammer in one game and won another with a 10th-inning home run. Using the same bat, Sherm Lollar also hit two homers. The patchwork Baltimore Orioles just won't stop cluttering up the first division. After they lost four in a row for the first time this season and dropped neatly into fifth place it seemed order had been restored at last. But the team got strong pitching from Walker, O'Dell and' Pappas, won three straight and bounced right back into the middle of things. The lack of an adequate bench hurt the Detroit Tigers badly. With Center Fielder Al Kaline, Johnny Groth (No. 1 outfield reserve), Second Baseman Frank Boiling, Ted Lepcio (No. 1 infield reserve) all out with injuries, the Tigers looked pretty shoddy. The puzzling New York Yankees ' drive toward first place fizzled out. Matter of fact, the team isn't even playing .500 ball any more. (Exactly a year ago the Yanks were 48-25 and leading the league by 11 games.) The amazing Washington Senators suddenly got good pitching and improved defense (Aspromonte and Consolo at second and short tightened up the infield) to go along with the explosive hitting of Killebrew, Allison, Lemon and Sievers. Now last place looks like a bad dream of the past. The Kansas City Athletics continued to get plenty of hits, but not enough runs to offset some mediocre pitching. The disappointing Boston Red Sox played under three different managers last week, and it still didn't make much difference. After losing five in a row and skidding into the cellar, Mike Higgins was fired. Coach Rudy York filled in for a losing game, and handed the team over to the new manager, Billy Jurges. Jurges then extended the losing streak to seven before the Sox managed to win.
Standings: Clev 44-32, Chi 43-35, Balt 41-38, NY 40-38, Det 40-40, Wash 37-41, KC 33-43, Bost 33-44.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Boxed statistics through Saturday, July 4