Shades of Welch: Leary Strikes Out 11, Shuts Out Padres
In the proper light and with a little imagination, you might have thought that was Bob Welch, not Tim Leary, on the mound Monday night for the Dodgers. Sure, the style and appearance were different, but the result on this night bore a striking resemblance to some of Welch’s best Dodger performances.
With Welch wearing Oakland’s garish green and gold uniform after an off-season trade, Leary has tried to lessen that loss by providing the Dodgers with as many wins as possible. He did a pretty decent Welch imitation Monday, shutting out the Padres, 6-0, on a three-hitter and striking out a career-high 11 batters in the process.
Monday’s win, before a crowd of 24,357 at Dodger Stadium, did not come without several losses for the Dodgers. Kirk Gibson (strained left hamstring) was a late scratch, soon to be followed on the injury list by Steve Sax (sprained finger) and John Shelby (strained left abdominal muscle).
Fortunately for the Dodgers, the offense accumulated more than enough early runs for Leary against loser Eric Show (0-3), who did not make it out of the third inning.
But the Dodgers’ run production received only second billing to the Welchian effort turned in by Leary, who recorded his second win in as many decisions almost effortlessly.
Leary yielded only a second-inning double to catcher Benito Santiago, the hottest Padre hitter, a third-inning single to Tony Gwynn, struggling to regain form, and a ninth-inning single to Randy Ready. Leary also eclipsed his previous strikeout high of nine, which he got in 1985 with the Milwaukee Brewers against the Yankees in New York.
He struck out Chris Brown three times, Keith Moreland and Garry Templeton twice and made John Kruk look so bad in a first-inning strikeout that Kruk left the game with a irritated right shoulder injury.
Show’s poor performance was almost as surprising as Leary’s domination. Last season, Show had recorded two shutouts against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium and posted a 1.24 earned-run average in four starts.
But the Dodgers’ offense, bouncing back from a drubbing by Atlanta’s Zane Smith on Sunday, produced a run in the first on Pedro Guerrero’s run-scoring single, two runs in the second on a single by Sax and three in the third on a double by Mike Scioscia and a single by Leary.
Leary’s 2-run single came off reliever Candy Sierra, but the runs were charged to Show, who gave up 7 hits and 4 walks and had no strikeouts in 2 innings. Every Dodger regular, except Mike Davis, had at least one hit Monday--Sax, Guerrero and Mike Marshall each notching two apiece.
On the other hand, Leary racked up strikeouts like, well, Welch did, circa 1987.
It used to be that the similarity between Welch and Leary ended after describing both as tall, dark and hard-throwing. But Leary hardly resembles the inconsistent and reluctant reliever of 1987, who posted a 3-11 record and a 4.76 ERA after coming to the Dodgers in the Greg Brock trade.
Needless to say, Leary did not have a shutout last season, but posted two for the Brewers in 1986.
While Leary was easily handling the Padres through five innings, the Dodgers were getting to Show early and often and finally expedited his removal after 2 innings.
Show was lucky to be trailing, 3-0, going into the third. The Dodgers had the potential to bunch runs in each of the first two innings, but Show avoided that by serving up well-timed ground balls.
It was about all Show did right. His ineffectiveness was exposed on his first pitch of the first inning, when Sax drove a single to center. After Alfredo Griffin’s grounder forced Sax, Show walked Franklin Stubbs, filling in for injured Kirk Gibson (strained left hamstring), on four pitches to bring up Guerrero.
That prompted a meeting on the mound with Padre Manager Larry Bowa, followed by another confab with catcher Santiago.
A lot of good that did. Guerrero slapped Show’s first pitch past third baseman Brown and into left field, scoring Griffin from second for a 1-0 Dodger lead. The Dodgers were just hitting stride when Marshall hit into an inning-ending double play.
Show was wild again in the second and, this time, it was more pronounced. With one out, he walked both Shelby and Scioscia on four pitches. Leary then advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, bringing up Sax.
Sax waited three pitches before lining a single to right-center, scoring Shelby and Scioscia for a 3-0 Dodger lead. Griffin then lined a single to center, Sax beating the throw to third with a headfirst slide that left him rubbing his right hand, which he had jammed against the base.
Sax stayed in the game until the fifth inning, but then was sent to Centinela Hospital Medical Center for X-rays. The results were not available Monday night.
After Griffin’s stolen base, Stubbs walked again, loading the bases for Guerrero, a dangerous proposition. But Guerrero grounded into an inning-ending force play, keeping the Padres close and temporarily keeping Show in the game.
Show’s demise finally came in the third. With one out and Mike Davis on first, the struggling Shelby moved Davis to second with a single to center. Up came Scioscia, perhaps the hottest hitting Dodger this season. But that fact didn’t stop Padre outfielders from playing Scioscia shallow.
Scioscia countered by lofting a double over Moreland’s head in left field. Davis and Shelby had to stop on the basepaths to make sure Moreland would not run down the ball. Davis was able to score, but Shelby, who was tailgating Davis, was stopped at third.
Bowa finally had seen enough of Show. He replacing his most reliable starter with Sierra, who entered the game with a 10.80 ERA in three appearances.
Leary greeted Sierra with a single to left, easily scoring Shelby and not-so-easily scoring Scioscia. With a 5-run lead, they could afford to take chances, so the Dodgers sent home the slow-footed Scioscia from third. Moreland’s throw from left field sailed to Santiago’s right, and Scioscia just beat the tag with a hook slide.
On the day after Tony Gwynn’s first major league ejection, the Padre outfielder said he regrets the incident and hopes to learn from it. On Sunday, when the Padres played the Giants in San Diego, umpire Joe West ejected Gwynn for vehemently arguing a strike call. Said Gwynn Monday: “I hope this won’t hurt me (with umpires). I’ve never been one to hold grudges, and I was hoping Joe would be working this series (against the Dodgers), so I could talk to him. It doesn’t make sense to lose control like I did there. I’m not really proud of what I did, but hopefully I can learn something from it. I think I was worrying too much about hitting .238 and took it out on him. I’m not going to worry anymore.” . . . Dodger utility player Jeff Hamilton had an unusual wake-up call Monday morning. He awoke to the sound of his 1987 Camaro crashing through the garage of his Azusa condominium and breaking a gas pipe in his living room. “The garage was cement that they had just recently poured and the car was sitting on wood planks,” Hamilton said. “The car fell about 4 1/2 feet and ended up tilted at an angle in the dirt. Hamilton, his wife, Shelley, and his dog were forced to leave the complex because of the gas leak. Tim Belcher, who also lives in the complex, also has moved out. “I had only been there two days, and my wife had just come into town,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight (Monday), some place that will take a dog.” As for Hamilton’s car, he said it has front and rear damage. . . . Padre pitcher Jimmy Jones, who shut out the Dodgers through 6 innings last week in San Diego and drew no respect from several Dodger hitters, opposes Fernando Valenzuela (1-2) tonight. Jones (1-1) said he feels no extra motivation, even after reading the derogatory quotes about him from Guerrero and Kirk Gibson. “They can say whatever they want, and it shouldn’t bother me,” Jones said Monday. “I’d rather beat them again and have them say I was unimpressive than lose and have them say that I looked OK. I’m not out there to impress them, just get them out.” . . . Dodger relief pitcher Alejandro Pena received treatment before the game for lower back pain--a malady that dates to spring training--but assistant trainer Charlie Strasser said Pena would be available to pitch in the series. . . . Stan Jefferson, the Padres’ struggling outfielder (.108), was given the night off. Marvell Wynne replaced Jefferson as the leadoff hitter. . . . Chris Gwynn, Tony’s brother and an outfielder for the Dodgers’ triple-A team in Albuquerque, went 4 for 6 with 3 runs batted in and a home run in a doubleheaders Sunday against Edmonton, the Angels’ triple-A affiliate. Shawn Hillegas won the first game for Albuquerque.
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