- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Padres' Goose Gossage, who slumped to 22 saves with the Yankees last year, has eight already in '84, but Dodger scout Mike Brito wasn't impressed when he put the radar gun on the Goose recently. Gossage, Brito says, never topped 90 mph. "He has lost his speed, and you can tell him I said so." For whatever it's worth, Gossage averaged more than one strikeout per inning in each of the past four seasons but has only 13 in his first 21 innings this year.... Goose's teammate Alan Wiggins, who's making a difficult transition from leftfield to second base, committed nine errors in his first 28 games. He has had a ton of trouble with "the medium-speed balls where I have to decide if I should charge or play back. Everyone thought my biggest problem would be turning the double play, but it hasn't been."...Braves first baseman Chris Chambliss, a first-rate fielder, has six errors already. Last season he had only five in 126 games.... Gary Carter is having trouble throwing out base stealers. Through the Expos' first 26 games, 21 of 32 would-be thieves were successful, as compared with 11 of 25 in the first 26 games last year.... Dave Parker hasn't hit a homer since his first at bat in spring training, and his teammates have started a pool on when the first dinger will come. Dann Bilardello's guess is Sept. 31, 1986. Sept. 31?
The Chicago Tribune Company must have been shocked recently when Cubs manager Jim Frey appeared in a front-page picture promoting a contest in the Trib's rival Sun-Times. The headline with Frey's photo shouted: LOOK WHO'S PITCHING WINGO. And the copy read, " Jim Frey, manager of the Chicago Cubs, owned by the Tribune Co., happily displays a Sun-Times Wingo card."
The game was a blowout even though it ended after only two men had come to bat. It was the Rangers against the Blue Jays in Toronto April 30, and the game was called because of winds that were gusting up to 60 mph. "When they played the national anthems," said Don Denkinger, the chief of the umpiring crew, "you couldn't even stand without being pushed over."
"It was just blowing you off the mound," said Jays starter Jim Clancy, who retired those two batters on a groundout and a strikeout. "They would've been calling balks all night on anyone in the stretch position."
Atlanta rightfielder Claudell Washington wanted to have the best year of his career in 1984 after going through a drug rehab program for cocaine abuse in the off-season. So far, so good. Washington, batting leadoff, has been the Braves' most productive player, batting .333 with seven homers, 21 RBIs, eight steals and 21 walks. "I knew I had to get off to a good start," he says, "or the boo-birds would be right there dropping one-liners on me. It's a long time since it has been a pleasure to come to the ball park."
Against everyone else the Royals' Dan Quisenberry has a career ERA of 2.18. Against the Brewers, it's 6.63. Quisenberry set a major league record in 1983 with 45 saves. This season he has seven saves, one win and two losses. The defeats were inflicted—you guessed it—by the Brewers. "Fortunately," he says, "none of their line drives have hit me."
Davis hit only .233 last season and became a forgotten man this season but, lo and behold, on Friday night in St. Louis, there was Davis back in the lineup, leading off and getting two hits in a 2-0 Giants win. Robinson was desperate. He has used seven leadoff men this season—Davis among them—and they had a collective batting average of .200 prior to Friday night's game.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]