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THE WEEK (Sept. 12-18)
Herman Weiskopf
September 27, 1976
NL WEST
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September 27, 1976

The Week (sept. 12-18)

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NL WEST

After Jim Barr of the Giants (6-1) had beaten the Reds for the third and fourth times this season, 3-1 and 4-2, Johnny Bench said, "They should only give him half the plate. He doesn't use the other half. He just keeps everything on the outside corner."

Cincinnati (3-4) got some good pitching of its own from rookie Pat Zachry (13-5), who stopped Los Angeles for the fifth time, 4-3, and from Rawly Eastwick, who racked up his 22nd and 23rd saves. Don Gullett, beset all year by shoulder and contractual problems, mowed down the Dodgers 4-2 with a revved-up fastball. Pete Rose hit .394 and reached the 200-hit plateau for the eighth season, one short of Ty Cobb's record.

Los Angeles (4-6) got shutouts from Tommy John, who buoyed his hopes of earning the comeback-of-the-year award by beating Cincinnati 9-0, and Don Sutton, who muzzled Atlanta 2-0. Anticipating his first 20-win season when he again faced the Braves later in the week, Sutton rented a suite and had champagne on ice. Despite extending his streak of shutout innings against Atlanta to 28, he did not have his party. Sutton left the scoreless game after 11 innings, and the Braves went on to win 1-0 on a passed ball in the 12th. In all, the busy Braves played six one-run games and took three of them.

"That isn't the real Bob Watson. Before the season is over I'll have my usual .300 average, about 15 home runs and 90 RBIs." So said Bob Watson of Houston (2-3) in June when he was slumping. True to his word, last week he raised his average to .310, hit his 16th homer and drove across his 96th run.

With the Padres (1-3) collapsing, talk in San Diego was of the team's minor-leaguers who won pennants for Hawaii, Amarillo, Texas, Reno, and Walla Walla, Wash.

CIN 95-55 LA 83-66 HOUS 73-77 SF 70-81 SD 68-81 ATL 66-85

NL EAST

Four, five, six, five, four, three, four—that was the day-by-day rundown on Philadelphia's lead over Pittsburgh. "To hell with fundamentals, team meetings, morale and all that jazz," said Mike Schmidt of the Phillies (4-3). "I'm going to worry about myself, get my hits and, if I contribute, fine." Schmidt was not really all that self-seeking, pointing out this was his way of "meeting the pressure. I hope nobody misunderstands." Making it perfectly clear, Schmidt slugged two homers in a 7-2 rout of Montreal. "You'll never get another hit off me," Tony Taylor, 40, was told by a former Phillie teammate, Pitcher Woodie Fryman, 36, now of the Expos. That night Taylor got a pinch RBI single off Fryman as the Phils rallied for a 3-2 win. After a two-base error led to a 4-3 loss to the Cubs, Novelist James Michener said, "I'm a Quaker and my wife's a Buddhist, and we joined in prayer for the Phillies. But it didn't work." The next day Steve Carlton (18-6) answered the Micheners' prayers by stopping the Cubs 4-1.

"Ability gets you to the majors, mentality keeps you here," said Willie Stargell of the Pirates (4-3). "I'd say 80% of this game is from the neck up." A former head case, Bill Robinson, who has 16 RBIs against his former Phillie teammates this year, homered twice and drove in seven runs in 7-2, 7-6 wins in Philadelphia. "Why am I a late bloomer?" asked Robinson, 33. "I wasn't able to handle all the press I got when I was younger. I tried to hit a home run every time up. It nearly ruined me."

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