Thanks to Indians, It’s a 7-3 Laugher; Angels Get 20 Hits
Bert Blyleven, who would rather join the Angels, will try to beat them tonight.
Amid revived trade talks between the Angels and Indians, he will attempt to convince Mike Port, the Angels’ general manager, that he’s worth the prospect package the Indians desire.
“I feel I can pitch five or six more years,” the 34-year-old right-hander said Tuesday night, “so what you lose in prospects, you compensate for with consistency. Besides, prospects are just that. Who knows?”
This much is sure: The Indians’ performance in Tuesday night’s series opener represented another illustration of why Blyleven wants to be traded.
And another illustration of why only 5,891 were on hand to see it.
How many times can you bring back vaudeville?
The Angels, batting .233 for the season and .219 the previous 41 games, capitalized on their opponents’ slapstick effort for a 7-3 victory that included 20 hits--the most since they established a club record with 26 against Boston on June 26, 1980.
Said Reggie Jackson, who drove in three runs with a single, double and homer, the 512th of his career putting him in a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 10th on the all-time list: “When you struggle like we have you can start to wonder if you’ll ever hit. I mean, we haven’t had 20 hits in five games. This should help our personality,”
It did little for the personality of Cleveland Manager Pat Corrales, who angrily ordered a workout for his entire team late this afternoon.
“Not a very good night,” a Los Angeles writer sympathized with Indian President Peter Bavasi.
“But not our worst,” replied the man who has had some bad nights to choose from.
The Indians have lost four in a row, 8 of their last 11 and 23 of their last 31 en route to a season record of 20-41. Opponents are hitting .278 against a staff whose earned-run average is 4.35.
The Angels stranded 13 or it would be higher. Doug DeCinces, who has hit in 13 straight games and raised his average to .256, had four singles. Bob Boone, Mike Brown and Dick Schofield matched Jackson with three hits each.
Cleveland did not make an error, but:
--Shortstop Julio Franco pursued a pair of pop flies onto the outfield grass, then inexplicably backed off, allowing each to fall for a gift hit, contributing to first- and fourth-inning runs.
--Starting and losing pitcher Neal Heaton did not cover first on a Schofield grounder hit wide of the bag in the fourth and was immediatedly yanked by Corrales.
--Third baseman Brook Jacoby contributed to the sins of that inning by bobbling a soft grounder hit by Juan Beniquez, who was generously credited with a hit.
Even the winning manager was depressed by the Cleveland performance.
“I don’t like to see big league baseball played like that,” Gene Mauch said. “It’s none of my business how they played, but I like to see it played clean.
“Of course, I’d feel a hell of a lot worse if we had played that way.”
The Angels played well in support of Mike Witt, who struggled to a third straight victory, scattering 10 hits before Donnie Moore pitched the final 1 innings.
Of the 20 hits, Mauch said: “I love to see players hit. Nothing makes ‘em happier. This should take some of the white knuckles off our bats. I just wish Brian Downing (.198 after an 0 for 3) had snuck in three or four so he’d be more comfortable, too.”
Comfortable is what Jackson seems to be again after pulling a hamstring muscle in late May. He has a pair of homers in the last two games and four RBIs, which moves him into 22nd place on the all-time list with 1,542.
He has 26 RBIs for the season and nine homers. Of the tie with Banks and Mathews, he said:
“It’s great to climb the ladder, but I figured to hit at least nine or 10 this year. The people I pass are not as important as being consistent, helping the club.
“If I take the next step and catch Willie McCovey and Ted Williams (at 521) it will mean something because I’ll have hit 18, which would make it a pretty good year. I’ll have helped the club.”
Of the help the Angels got from Cleveland in the series opener, DeCinces said: “If you look at their batting averages, they have some pretty good numbers, but no pitcher could survive that kind of play. They seem to be playing scared. Of course, the only positive thing about coming to Cleveland is making sure you win. It doesn’t matter how you do it.”
The Bert Blyleven situation: Last Saturday’s trading deadline merely marked the expiration of waivers. The Indians, still seemingly intent on trading Blyleven before 1986 when he gains the right of approval over a trade, are expected to put Blyleven on waivers again this week. He would have to clear the five-day process without being claimed before a trade could be consummated. . . . Angel General Manager Mike Port, who dined with Cleveland counterpart Joe Klein Tuesday night, said he remains interested, “but we’re back at square one (in regard to the negotiations).” . . . Said Blyleven, an Orange County resident who was hopeful of being traded to a Southern California team before the deadline: “I was depressed because I thought something would happen, but it’s out of my control. All I can do is hope, and I’ll continue doing that.” . . . Asked if he thought Cleveland was demanding too much, he said, “I guess if I was in their position and had a pitcher of my capability I’d try raking someone, too.”
Are the Angels also considering the reacquisition of shortstop Tim Foli, who was placed on release waviers by Pittsburgh Monday? “At this point,” a cautious Port said, “I don’t know if we do or we don’t have interest in him. The waivers don’t expire until the end of the week. Anything I say now would be tampering, but we will probably talk about it.” . . . Foli broke in under Gene Mauch at Montreal and had one of his best seasons for Mauch when the Angels won the AL West in 1982. He can play all four infield positions while Craig Gerber, hitting .143 as the current backup to shortstop Dick Schofield, is basically restricted to the one. . . . Asked what kind of scouting report he received from aide Preston Gomez regarding Saturday’s second Edmonton start by Steve Rogers, Port said, “Not good.” Rogers gave up 12 hits and six earned runs in five innings. “He had the outing we expected the first time,” Port said, “but it’s not a death knell. He still has three or four (starts) to go. We expected there’d be a downside, a bad outing. Preston will see him again Wednesday or Thursday.” . . . Jack Howell, the Angels third baseman of the future, hyperextended his left knee in Edmonton’s game at Portland Saturday night. Howell saw Dr. Lewis Yocum at Centinela Hospital Medical Center Tuesday and will wear a brace to immobilize the knee for three days. He will then begin an exercise program, an Angel spokesman said. . . . Blyleven (5-6) will be opposed tonight by Jim Slaton (4-4), celebrating his 35th birthday.