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THE WEEK (July 25-31)
Larry Keith
August 09, 1976
AL WEST
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August 09, 1976

The Week (july 25-31)

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AL WEST

Everybody is Picking on Oakland. "Every time Chuck Tanner opens his mouth he says the A's have won the pennant." Kansas City Outfielder Amos Otis said. "Doesn't he know they are nine games behind? The A's have been dead ever since Reggie Jackson left." Oakland's answer was a 9-2 victory over the Royals in a 3-3 week and some harsh words in return. "Those statements will come back to haunt Otis," Tanner said. "Maybe when the going gets tough he'll quit like he does every year."

Chicago followed the Royals into Oakland, lost two of three, but also left unimpressed. "All they can do is run," said White Sox Manager Paul Richards. "They're not a good hitting team." The A's did not get any hits at all during a 2-1 loss as John Odom and Francisco Barrios combined to pitch a sloppy no-hitter in which they allowed 11 walks.

For all their criticism, neither Kansas City (3-3) nor Chicago (2-5) was exactly burning up the league. Another big talker from the Royals, Pitcher Al Fitzmorris, outdueled Nolan Ryan of California 4-0, then said, "I'm really proud of the fact that I'm as good a pitcher as he is, maybe better. You look at a guy like him and you think he's a little foolish. He always makes the same mistakes. He fools around and gets behind, then has to come in with his fastball. Everybody knows it and can wait for it." Fitzmorris promptly was bombed in his next start by Texas, while Ryan was shutting out the White Sox on three hits. California (4-2) got more good pitching from Frank Tanana, who beat the Royals 2-1 on four hits, and Dick Drago, who won twice in relief.

Red hot Minnesota (6-2) ran off its second five-game winning streak in two weeks and moved above .500 for the first time since June 13 by edging Oakland 6-5 on Dan Ford's two-run homer. The Twins took over third place, passing Texas (2-5), which had lost 10 of 12. Bert Blyleven got the only Ranger wins, beating the Twins 3-0 and Kansas City 4-2.

KC 61-39 OAK 53-49 MINN 51-50 TEX 48-52 CHI 45-56 CAL 45-59

AL EAST

It was not a good week for New York (2-5). but even after three straight losses to Baltimore, Manager Billy Martin was not worried. Secure with his double-digit lead. Martin bragged, "A plane wreck or a bus blowup is the only way we could lose to the Orioles."

That's probably true, since Baltimore (5-2) is much closer to sixth place than to first. All the Orioles' wins came in succession. Ross Grimsley pitched two of them, and Jim Palmer and Rudy May had impressive complete-game victories. While Grimsley claimed. "My best years are ahead of me," Palmer was saying his time has come. "I guess it sounds immodest to say you're pitching like you're supposed to," he said immodestly, "but I am." May was not doing badly, either. His 1-0 six-hitter was his second shutout of Detroit this season.

The loser in that game was Mark Fidrych, who was done in by an unearned run. It was only his third defeat of the year, and the Tigers have failed to score in all of them. Detroit (5-3) was on the happy side of a 1-0 score when Dave Roberts evened his record at 10-10 by five-hitting Milwaukee. The Brewers' (3-4) best effort was Bill Travers' three-hit, 3-1 win over Baltimore.

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