Just moments into Sunday’s game against the Cubs, and hours before the post-game Beach Boys concert would begin, Padre left-hander Dave Dravecky did not have “good vibrations” about his fourth start of the season.
Before much of the crowd of 50,226 had time to ready itself for a long day of partying, the Cubs had the bases loaded with only one out against Dravecky.
Leadoff hitter Bob Dernier walked, Ryne Sandberg lined a single to left field, and Davey Lopes walked after Gary Matthews flied out to left.
Almost simultaneously, Keith Moreland headed to the plate and Padre pitching coach Galen Cisco walked to the mound.
“He (Dravecky) was rushing to the plate,” Cisco said, “and his release point was all screwed up. I told him to start it (his motion) slow, and you’ll have a better chance of finishing fast.”
Or at least of getting through the first inning.
“He realized that the game might be on the line right there,” Cisco said.
Up came Moreland, the leading hitter on the Cubs with a .313 average. The big right-handed hitter had hit safely in seven of his last nine starts, and was hitting .462 (12 for 26) with runners in scoring position.
He lined Dravecky’s first pitch straight to shortstop Garry Templeton, who barely had to move. Templeton easily tossed to Tim Flannery to double Sandberg off second.
Dravecky was out of the inning and on his way to pitching a strong 7 innings in the Padres’ 5-3 win.
“I immediately put that inning behind me,” Dravecky said. “If I carry it into the second, I can run into more problems. It was a matter of finding my groove.”
In picking up his second straight win as a starter, Dravecky allowed six hits, walked four and struck out three. He allowed all three runs on a fastball that Lopes blasted into the left-field stands with two out in the eighth.
The home run followed a two-out walk to Dernier and a bloop, opposite-field single by Gary Matthews.
“The important thing is to keep Lopes from hitting a home run in that situation,” Dravecky said, “and I threw him a nothing fastball. I have to bear down harder in those situations.”
The ball was barely out of the ballpark before Manager Dick Williams made his way to the mound.
Goose Gossage came in to save Dravecky’s second win of the season against two losses.
“Once Dravecky got his feet on the ground after the first inning, he threw all right,” Williams said.
And he hung in there. Thanks to three Padre double plays, which came as a result of good fortune, strong defense and poor Cub baserunning, Dravecky actually had a shutout for 7 innings.
Considering all the problems he said he had with his mechanics on Sunday, it’s almost hard to believe Dravecky shut out the Cubs on four hits going into the eighth.
“I was not in sync in the first inning,” Dravecky said. “I had trouble with my rhythm and my delivery.”
Dravecky said Cisco is trying to get him to slow down his delivery and get his body in the proper position to throw the pitch.
“Pitchers tend to overthrow when they get on the mound,” Cisco said. “Dave has to concentrate on quality pitches instead of quantity.”