Traditionally, they are known as the dog days of August, when boredom is the mood of the month, but for Doug DeCinces, they continue to be nothing less than dollar days.
DeCinces has launched into his contract drive, which coincidentally has overlapped with the Angels’ playoff drive. Saturday night, in the bottom of the ninth inning, DeCinces delivered another blow for both--hitting a two-run home run off reliever Bill Campbell to give the Angels another comeback victory over the Detroit Tigers, this time by a 5-4 score.
It was the second straight ninth-inning crusher against the Tigers, who on Friday night let a 12-5 advantage slip away and lost, 13-12. Saturday night, there would not be the high dramatics--no eight-run rally, no Dick Schofield bases-loaded homer.
But the result was precisely the same for the Angels--another victory, extending the team’s winning streak to six games and keeping the first-place lead over the Texas Rangers in the American League West at 4 1/2 games.
Campbell opened the ninth with a 4-3 lead but walked the first batter he faced, Brian Downing, on a full count. Rob Wilfong ran for Downing, and Reggie Jackson stepped to the plate.
Jackson struck out, which would be the only out Campbell would get. Campbell’s first pitch to DeCinces wound up in the right-field seats--a rare opposite-field home run for the right-handed-hitting Angel third baseman.
“I knew he wouldn’t throw anything inside,” said DeCinces, who has 21 home runs this season. “I figured (it would be) a sinker away to get the double play. That’s where my thought process was. I was able to adjust and go the other way.”
Many of the 39,633 fans at Anaheim Stadium were still in their seats--or on their feet--calling DeCinces out for a curtain call after the curtain had fallen again on the Tigers.
“There were a lot of fans who didn’t leave and decided to stick around to the end,” DeCinces said. “They have that feeling now.
“Wins likes this are the things that puts a team into the playoffs and the World Series. It gives you the feeling that you are never out of it.”
DeCinces has a certain feeling about the month of August. In 1982, he was the league’s Player of the Month for August after hitting 11 home runs and driving in 28 runs in 31 days.
Four years later, DeCinces has nearly equaled those numbers. In August ’86, DeCinces has hit 9 home runs, driven in 23 runs and scored 15 runs. He is batting .341 for the month.
And he has one whole day left.
Not great news for Detroit. Today, the Angels bid for a four-game sweep of the Tigers, with John Candelaria (7-2) the starting pitcher.
Candelaria was originally to have started Saturday night, but Manager Gene Mauch decided to give the pitcher’s left elbow--which received a cortisone injection Tuesday--an extra day’s rest. That gave one more opportunity to rookie Ray Chadwick, who was bound for Edmonton--win, lose or draw.
Chadwick, pitching on borrowed time for most of the month, received the official word after the final out: He was being optioned out to make room for outfielder Devon White as the Angels completed their playoff roster before today’s deadline.
Chadwick may not be gone long; the Angels can recall him Monday when rosters can be expanded to 40 players. Most likely, Chadwick will spend the next two days in his Anaheim apartment, watching TV, before reclaiming jersey No. 48.
Chadwick didn’t win Saturday night, but he didn’t lose, either--which is newsworthy in its own right. He took an 0-3 record and an 8.18 earned-run average into the game but pitched a creditable six-plus innings. He left tied at 3-3 after surrendering seven hits, including homers by Darnell Coles and Darrell Evans.
After Chadwick opened the seventh inning by yielding a single to Chet Lemon, Mauch summoned Gary Lucas from the bullpen. Lucas got out of the inning but in the eighth was tagged by Evans for his second homer of the game, and 26th of the year, giving Detroit a 4-3 lead.
The Angels scored their first three runs on RBIs by Schofield, Gary Pettis and Bob Boone.
In the third inning, Schofield singled home Bobby Grich, stole second, advanced to third on catcher Dwight Lowry’s throwing error and scored on a ground-out by Pettis.
Two innings later, after Ruppert Jones walked and was sacrificed to second, Boone singled to right for the Angels’ third run.
The RBIs left Schofield with 50 for the season, Pettis with 42 and Boone with 41. The supposed Lesser Three of the Angel offense all have more RBIs than Jackson (40).
They kept the game close enough for DeCinces to bridge the gap in the ninth. His two-run home run gave him 80 RBIs for the season, surpassing his 1985 total of 78.
Just another item DeCinces can throw out on the negotiating table this winter.
Devon White will be in uniform today after batting .291 in 112 games with Edmonton. White, voted by Pacific Coast League managers as the best defensive outfielder in the league, stole 42 bases, scored 84 runs, hit 14 home runs and drove in 60 runs for the Trappers. With Ruppert Jones batting .229, White figures to see playing time in right field. Manager Gene Mauch also plans to use White as a pinch-runner and a late-inning defensive replacement. White scored seven runs in 21 games with the Angels last September. . . . Terry Forster rejoined the Angels after his 12-day rehabilitative stint with Edmonton and threw for 20 minutes before Saturday night’s game. And how glad was Forster to be back? “I never thought I’d miss Baltimore and Cleveland,” he said. “The mosquitoes in Edmonton, man, they’re brutal. There were billions of ‘em. I had 35 bites after the first night. I kept my cap on all game and wound up with seven bites on the top of my head. Those mosquitoes were awesome.” . . . The Angels are planning to reactivate Forster Monday. “I’m ready to pitch now,” Forster said. “I threw better today than before I was hurt. I guess I was starting to get a little tired-armed.” Forster will still be eligible for the playoffs because he was on the disabled list Aug. 31. . . . Add Forster: The relief pitcher came back from Edmonton with a scouting report that should interest the eight Angel veterans in the last year of their contracts. “Edmonton has the most talent I’ve ever seen in an organization,” Forster said. “They’ve got an outfielder, (Mark) Ryal, who’s as impressive as hell. (Urbano) Lugo was throwing the ball (well). Willie Frazier is the best pitching prospect I’ve seen at that age (22). They have eight guys who can play here right now and five or six others who are a year away. With that minor league system, the Angels will have a contending team for as long as they want.” . . . Ron Romanick Update: The Angels’ long-lost fifth starter figures to be recalled from Edmonton Monday, and Forster claims that Romanick has taken a turn for the better. “I was asking myself, ‘Is this the same guy who was here?,’ ” Forster said. “I saw Ronnie pitch three times, and twice he just mowed ‘em down. He’s throwing harder, about 90 m.p.h. He looks a lot better.” . . . Saturday’s crowd of 39,633 boosted the Angels’ 1986 attendance to 2,036,692. It marked the fifth straight year, and seventh time overall, that the Angels have surpassed two million in attendance.