- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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CHI 53-36 KC 50-38 MINN 48-42 TEX 46-43 CAL 42-45 OAK 39-49 SEA 40-54
A double-barreled surprise, the Mets were both winners and civic saints. They took four of five as Pat Zachry, Jon Matlack, Nino Espinosa and Craig Swan won their first games of the month and Steve Henderson homered twice. The team even looked good in losing two Cub games to the blackout. When the lights dimmed in the first game, Shea Stadium organist Jane Jarvis entertained the 21,000 spectators by playing 90 minutes worth of melodies. Included was "Downtown where all the lights are bright." Met players pitched in by signing autographs and staging a pantomime infield drill, by the lights of their cars, deep in the outfield.
While the 2-4 Cubs (page 8) were in the dark most of the week, Philadelphia (4-4) began seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Led by Greg Luzinski (12 for 30, five homers, 14 RBIs), the Phillies smacked 91 hits. Luzinski may have to keep up the pace, though, because Third Baseman Mike Schmidt will be lost for six weeks if he has surgery on the fractured ring finger of his right hand. And somebody will have to atone for the base-running antics of Bob Boone, the Stanford psychology grad who was thrown out at second, third and home in a single game. "We were hoping he'd be thrown out at first," said Pitcher Jim Kaat. "That way he'd have gone for the cycle."
Pittsburgh (5-3) also moved into contention. The Pirates beat Montreal 5-4 when 35-year-old Jim Fregosi homered in the 12th. St. Louis (2-5) was a multifaceted loser. Card pitchers gave up 33 runs, and one of the hurlers, Al Hrabosky, was having his old troubles with Manager Vern Rapp. "As silly as it may sound," said the still-shaven, still-disgruntled Hrabosky, "the hair and mustache might be the psychological thing that will carry me over the hump. I feel phony without them. I'm not myself." A broken record? Perhaps, but this time Hrabosky had accompaniment. When Rapp called a "motivational" meeting in the clubhouse, the team, through player rep Lou Brock, asked him to "bend some" on his strict hair and dress code. Rapp went so far as to arrange a champagne party after one game. It fizzled when the team lost. "It's time for the players to look at themselves and say, 'Maybe we're the guys who are causing all the troubles,' " snapped Rapp. As reports stirred of incipient rebellion, others suggested Rapp question his own policy of batting slumping players fourth. He claims it inspires them.
Montreal (3-3) Pitcher Stan Bahnsen and Catcher Gary Carter went from goat to hero. Most recently a failure at Oakland, Bahnsen beat Pittsburgh 4-2 and St. Louis 3-0. Carter left the plate uncovered, and as a result the tying run scored in a game the Expos eventually lost to Pittsburgh in extra innings. A few days later, after promising a 12-year-old terminal cancer patient that he would hit a home run, Carter delivered in storybook fashion. His three-run homer helped the Expos collar the Cardinals 7-6.
CHI 53-34 PHIL 51-38 PITT 49-41 ST.L 47-44 MONT 41-47 NY 36-53
It was easy enough to figure out the Dodger week (2-5). No one was hitting, least of all sluggers Steve Garvey (6 for 29), Ron Cey (3 for 25) and Rick Monday (1 for 10). And Charlie Hough, who got belted three times, was of little use in the bullpen. More perplexing was Cincinnati's (2-5) continued inability to cut the gap. The Reds used up their best shots in one game, with George Foster homering three times and Tom Seaver once in a 7-1 victory over Atlanta. Explaining away Seaver's disappointing 3-2 record as a Red, Manager Sparky Anderson, who earlier had predicted 25 Seaver wins this season, said, "He's just fitting in, getting comfortable. He'll win 25 next year." Accepting no excuses, Cincinnati columnist Pat Harmon wrote off the Reds' pennant chances. The last straw was the abrupt retirement of Pitcher Woodie Fryman, who preferred his nearby Kentucky farm to an Ohio bullpen.