Two of the National League's finest pitchers—Joaquin Andujar of the Cardinals and Steve Carlton of the Phillies—have been struggling. Over his most recent 15 starts through Sunday, Andujar had a 4.50 ERA and had lost 10 of 11 decisions. Following a 2-1 loss last week to the Mets, Andujar was a jumble of emotions. First, he emptied six or so cans of beer into a bucket and dumped the contents over his head. Next, he kicked over a trash can in the training room and threw a bottle, which shattered near the shower room. Then Andujar sat down and politely answered reporters' questions. Later he said, "I be all right. Mentally, I all right now. I have a strong mind. I not keeping my head down." And then he said, "I can't believe it. I going to go crazy." One thing that has hurt Andujar is that in his 10 defeats St. Louis scored only eight runs while he was still in the game. Cardinal Catcher Darrell Porter pointed out two other problems: "His control's been off. And he hasn't had the slider he had last year."
After being shelled by Montreal on June 20, Carlton had given up 16 runs in 20? innings during his last three starts and was 1-6 in his last seven starts. "He didn't throw one Lefty-type fastball all night," said Philadelphia Pitching Coach Claude Osteen after the Montreal bombing. "He tried to finesse his way through." Four days later Carlton evened his record at 8-8 by beating New York 6-3. Carlton didn't have his best stuff in that game, either, but he did regain the alltime strikeout lead from Houston's Nolan Ryan (3,551 to 3,548) by fanning six Mets.
Last season Kansas City Pitcher Bud Black was 4-6 and had a 4.58 ERA because he was "too fine all the time, going for the black." Now in his mind's eye he has divided the plate into thirds, giving him more room to hit on each side. And even if he pitches down the middle third, Black feels he doesn't have to worry. "It's not that I gave hitters too much credit, but I sure wasn't giving myself enough," says Black, 25, who at week's end was 3-1, with a 2.82 ERA. "Even the very good hitters make an out two out of every three times. I'm not afraid of making mistakes now, which is the biggest problem for most young pitchers."
With his second five-year term as president of the American League ending later this year, Lee MacPhail, 65, had planned to retire. Thus, it was surprising that MacPhail recently added the role of president of the Player Relations Committee to his league duties. That position had been vacant since the April 7 resignation of Ray Grebey.
"I really didn't want the job," MacPhail says. "I told Dan Galbreath [chairman of the PRC and president of the Pirates] the only way I'd take it would be if all 26 teams wanted me. To my amazement, they all voted for me."
With the current contract with the Players Association scheduled to expire at the end of 1984, MacPhail's main task will be to hammer out a new agreement. Then he will retire for good.