Seaver Moves Closer to 300; White Sox Move Into 1st Place
Before Friday night’s game, someone asked Angel starter Ron Romanick if he would have prefered to be facing someone other than a legend named Tom Seaver.
“Nah,” he said, smiling. “We owe him. He kinda tricked us a couple of times last year, and we figure to get him this time.”
Romanick may have a live fastball and good breaking stuff, but he isn’t going to make a fortune predicting the future.
Seaver was up to his old tricks all right Friday night and, for the 295th time in his career, he came away with a victory as the Chicago White Sox beat the Angels, 4-2, in front of 33,846 at Anaheim Stadium. The White Sox have a half-game lead over the Angels in the American League West.
The Angels got two hits and a pair of unearned runs off Seaver in the first inning, but after that, Tom was most definitely Terrific. He didn’t allow another hit before leaving in the eighth after walking leadoff hitter Juan Beniquez.
With Seaver out, the Angels put together a bona fide threat against reliever Bob James. Pinch-hitter Rob Wilfong ripped a single to right, and the Angels loaded the bases when James bobbled Rod Carew’s attempted sacrifice bunt.
But James got Daryl Sconiers to pop to shallow left, and Beniquez was out at the plate trying to score after tagging up. Bobby Grich then lined a shot off James’ glove, but James recovered in time to get the out at first, and the Angels came away empty.
James, however, came away with his 15th save, tops in the American League.
Romanick, who says he goes out expecting every game to be a low-scoring affair that will be decided by a run or two, got an unexpected two-run cushion in the first inning.
Sconiers laced a two-out double off first baseman Greg Walker’s glove. Grich walked, and the Angels loaded the bases when Chicago second baseman Julio Cruz played Reggie Jackson’s bouncer off his chest and then couldn’t pick it up on the first two tries.
Doug DeCinces provided Romanick with the two-run advantage--and stretched his hitting streak to 10 games in the process--with a single to center.
Walker led off the second with a single to right. Romanick then hit Carlton Fisk, who leads the league with 15 homers. The high fastball bounced off Fisk’s shoulder and hit him in the side of the helmet. The veteran catcher took a couple of seconds to shake it off before getting up and going to first.
If it was a message pitch, Seaver & Co. were receiving loud and clear. Bob Boone, the leadoff hitter in the Angels’ second, got a quick fastball in the ribs. Home plate umpire Ken Kaiser had seen more than enough, and he promptly warned both managers.
If Romanick was merely establishing the areas of the strike zone he believed were his, the White Sox were unimpressed. They did just fine with what was left in the third inning, scoring three times after two were out. Walker followed a Harold Baines single with a long home run to right-center. And then Fisk, Oscar Gamble and Daryl Boston all rapped out line-drive singles for an additional run.
Seaver, meanwhile, was darkening the ever-present dirt smudge on his right knee (when he’s pitching well he scuffs it along the mound during his delivery), and the Angels were scraping for hits.
Gary Pettis, who struck out looking in his first two trips to the plate, must have felt a bit over-matched. He bunted foul with two strikes to end the fifth inning.
Jackson, who won the opener of the series with his ninth-inning pinch-hit Thursday, hurt the Angels with his fielding in the sixth. After Cruz worked a one-out walk, Ozzie Guillen hit a shallow, medium-high flyball to right. Jackson momentarily froze, then came racing in and missed a diving catch. Pettis hustled over to pick up the ball and Guillen was awarded a double.
Rudy Law followed with a single to center that scored Cruz, but Guillen was out at the plate after a strong and accurate throw by left fielder Ruppert Jones.
Angel Notes General Manager Mike Port says he feels the Angels are “close” to making a trade for Cleveland pitcher Bert Blyleven, but quickly added: “Close doesn’t mean anything unless you’re there.” Port says he will be talking with four or five clubs today in hopes of getting a starting pitcher before the inter-league trading deadline (5 p.m. today). . . . Most pitchers like to be left alone on the days they are going to pitch, and Ron Romanick is usually no exception. But the Angel right-hander was in a particularly conversational mood Friday as he sat in the dugout watching batting practice. “The biggest difference between this year’s team and last year’s is the chemistry between the pitching staff and the rest of the team,” Romanick said. “There’s a mutual confidence now that was missing. Last year, nobody knew what their role was, and everyone was waiting for someone else to do the job. We had the ability to win it all last year, we just didn’t want it bad enough.” Romanick thinks 1985 will be a different story. “We proved a lot to ourselves during that 32-game swing against the East,” he said. “We came back still in first place, and that was our goal. In fact, we may still be suffering a little letdown from that.”. . . Angel center fielder Gary Pettis continues to provide evidence for those who believe he is baseball’s best outfielder. Friday night, he made a fine running catch of Tim Hulett’s drive in right-center, the kind of play that might be labeled “spectacular” if a different player made it. For Pettis these days, it belongs in the “routine” category. . . . Thursday’s 2-1 win over Chicago gave the Angels a league-leading 15-4 record in one-run games. Last year, the Angels were 22-30 in one-run decisions. . . . The White Sox had four straight 10-or-more-hit games before Thursday, when Jim Slaton and Donnie Moore combined to hold them to four.