The Los Angeles Dodgers have Manager Walt Alston so perplexed by their road record (29-26) that he has considered bunking them in Los Angeles hotels when they play at home, where their record is 27-24. In a 19-inning game against the Reds, Dodger pitchers struck out 22 batters yet lost 2-1. "Getting a winner in that game," said Los Angeles' Don Sutton, "was about as tough as getting a running mate for McGovern."
Hurt constantly by weak defense, Los Angeles might be feeling for the first time the failure of its farm system to produce. Young Dodgers have not played up to their notices for the past two seasons and Frank Robinson, the veteran they traded for, has been slowed by a total of five different ailments. While he doesn't contemplate quitting right now, it is indeed on his mind. "At the end of every season," Frank says, "I talk over what may be ahead next year with my wife. At the end of this season we will have to talk longer than we ever had to before."
Cincinnati's Reds and Houston's Astros may still wind up in the only interesting race in the National League. The Reds held a 4�-game lead over Houston at the end of the week, but prime reliever Clay Carroll was being hit hard and the team could be in serious trouble if Gary Nolan and Wayne Simpson do not recover quickly from injuries. The Astros swung to a four-man pitching rotation by dropping Ken Forsch.
Outfielder Ken Henderson finally began to hit for the San Francisco Giants (.592 for the week), but the franchise will have to make a decision on what to do with Juan Marichal, who lost his 13th game of the season and grumbled about the outfield defense.
The Padres will indeed be playing in San Diego next season despite all the stories that have them moving to Washington or Toronto. The Padres show an attendance increase of 104,000 this year over 1971, but their 25-25 road play cannot cover a 17-40 record at home.
CIN 64-42 HOUS 61-48 LA 56-50 ATL 51-59 SF 48-62 SD 42-65
About the only people deeply interested in this division are the hotel reservation clerks in Pittsburgh. Seemingly on their way to another Series, the Pirates finished the week with a 9�-game lead even though Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente were on the bench with injuries, heels for Clemente, a tooth extraction for Stargell.
Somebody has to be in second place and the New York Mets were, despite having played at a percentage of .437 since Rusty Staub went out of the lineup. Just behind the Mets are the Cubs, hurting. While Pitcher Milt Pappas drove in five runs in one of his rare complete games, both Fergie Jenkins and Burt Hooton were having arm problems.
Match all the relief pitchers in the National League and Montreal's Mike Marshall has to come out on top. Marshall, a supreme chess fan and one of the brightest athletes extant, drew the following praise from Manager Gene Mauch after his 12th save to go with 11 victories: "He's the best I've ever seen and that includes Ed Roebuck, Elroy Face, Ron Perranoski, Jim Brewer, Jack Baldschun—you name 'em." Sparky Lyle, perhaps?