The first decision Yogi Berra made last fall when he was named manager of the New York Yankees was to select his old crony and battery-mate Whitey Ford as pitching coach. It was a bold move and the baseball world wondered if Ford could handle both jobs—coaching and his own pitching career—in the manner to which the Yankees were accustomed. The verdict on Ford as a coach is still pending, but Ford the pitcher is, if anything, better than ever. Since losing a tough, extra-inning game on Opening Day to the Boston Red Sox, Ford has rattled off eight straight victories, including five shutouts. Last week he beat the Angels 9-3, giving them only seven hits, then shut out the White Sox, pretenders to the Yankee throne, 3-0 on four hits. In doing so, he lowered his earned-run average to 1.55, best in the league. In the past four games he has been especially tough, holding opponents to a. 167 batting average and only four runs. His control is as remarkable as ever (20 bases on balls and 78 strikeouts in 110 innings of pitching) and his curve balls come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and speeds. He has been accused of supplementing his pitches with something extra—saliva—but every ball he has thrown has turned up, on inspection, dry. Ford himself credits this year's success to his own coaching. "I seem to pay more attention to things now," he says. That may be, but to American League hitters, he is just the same as he has always been—too good.