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Rookie Chadwick’s 4th Start Is an Improvement

Times Staff Writer

Ray Chadwick probably wondered if he was long for the major leagues early this month when he faced just five Mariners in a game at Seattle and four eventually scored.

And he might have had his doubts a week ago when he gave up three home runs in five innings at Baltimore.

But he was still with the Angels Saturday evening when he took an 0-3 record and 8.18 earned-run average to the mound for his fourth big league start.

The 23-year-old right-hander didn’t exactly bring back memories of Bob Gibson, but he held the Detriot Tigers in check for six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, before his teammates put together another ninth-inning rally for a 5-4 win in front of 39,633.

It matched Chadwick’s longest outing of the year and was a definite improvement over his last two starts. But about an hour after he left the game, however, the Angels informed him they were optioning him to Edmonton.

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It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. Actually, they optioned him to the Oakwood Apartments in Anaheim.

The Angels decided they would be more likely to need the services of outfielder Devon White should they make the playoffs or the World Series, and postseason rosters must be set by today. So White was called up from Edmonton and Chadwick was told to go watch TV in his room until Monday when rosters can be expanded to 40 players.

“I’m disappointed, but it wasn’t like I didn’t expect it,” Chadwick said. “We’ve got a pretty solid bullpen and four very solid starters. I just wish they would go to the 25-man roster instead of the 24.

“Now, I just hope I can do my part, whatever I can to help this team get there.”

If the Angels do make a postseason appearance, Manager Gene Mauch figures he won’t need more than nine pitchers. But he has no qualms about using Chadwick as a fifth starter down the stretch, and Chadwick is virtually assured of getting at least one more start this season.

“He’ll be back as soon as it’s legal,” Mauch said. “We won’t need a fifth starter for a while because of off days, anyway.

“I think he pitched better than he’s probably giving himself credit for tonight. He took us into a good position to win. And what the hell, (Detroit first baseman) Darrell Evans has hit a couple of homers off a few other guys.”

If they took a poll of American League hitters, Chadwick’s breaking ball would beat out the furry character in “Caddyshack” as America’s favorite gopher. He has allowed five homers in 17 innings with the Angels.

The first hit he allowed, in fact, was a home run. The Tigers’ Darnell Coles hit a changeup well over the 386 sign in left-center.

“Until tonight, the only breaking balls I got over the plate ended up over the fence,” Chadwick said, managing a smile. “All the other homers had been on breaking balls.”

Catcher Dwight Lowry got the next two hits off Chadwick, a single to right in the third and a double to left in the fifth. Lou Whitaker followed with a single to score Lowry, tying the score, 2-2.

In the sixth, Evans added Chadwick’s fastball to the missing-in-the-bleachers list, getting all of a two-strike mistake. If it wasn’t for the right-field foul pole, the ball would have become a souvenir for someone with a seat even Bob Uecker wouldn’t want.

But, all in all, Mauch was pleased and Chadwick was bordering on satisfied.

“I thought I was finally going to get that first win,” Chadwick said, " . . . maybe next time.”

Legally, he can’t work again until after Labor Day, but the important thing for Ray Chadwick is that he figures to get a whole lot of next times in seasons to come.


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