Bill Russell managed. Only two regulars started. And Tom Lasorda, he yakked in the radio booth, schmoozed in the press box and spent the rest of the time walking around like a fan in a souvenir uniform.
Tuesday night at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium for the newly crowned National League West division champion Dodgers was all very post-clinching cool. Except for one thing.
Struggling Tim Leary pitched. And Leary was socked, leading to the Dodgers’ downfall in an 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres before 13,235.
One of four pitchers apparently informed earlier in the day by Lasorda that he would be in the playoff rotation, Leary acted as if he had just been told he was being released. The game wasn’t six batters old when he had already given up four hits and three runs. It wasn’t 45 minutes old when Brian Holton was warming up in the bullpen.
By the time Leary departed in the fourth inning with two out and Carmelo Martinez on third, he had allowed six runs. Ricky Horton came on and allowed a run-scoring single to Marvell Wynne to score Martinez and make Leary’s totals for 3 innings look like this: Eight hits, seven runs, six earned runs.
“He hasn’t pitched well, we know that,” Lasorda said in a rare understatement.
The Padres were led by a pitcher heading the other direction. Eric Show won for the ninth time in his last 10 decisions, and for a second straight time over the Dodgers. His 16 victories (with 11 losses) are a career high.
For the Dodgers, the only thing more rotten than Leary’s pitch location was his timing. It came shortly after Lasorda announced one-half of his playoff pitching rotation, while leaving little doubt as to the makeup of the other half.
In Game 1 at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night at 5, it will be Orel Hershiser against the New York Mets’ Dwight Gooden. In Game 2 at Dodger Stadium Wednesday night at 7--a change from the previous noon starting time because of the nationally televised vice presidential debate--it will be John Tudor against David Cone.
Lasorda would not announce the starters for Games 3 or 4 next weekend in New York, but he held a pregame meeting with his playoff starters, and besides Hershiser and Tudor, also in attendance were Leary and Tim Belcher. Because of Leary’s struggles, Belcher has become the favorite to face Ron Darling in Game 3, which would leave Leary to face Sid Fernandez in Game 4.
The only reason the makeup of the rotation would change is if Belcher was needed in relief in one of the previous games, and then Hershiser would come back to start on three days of rest.
Leary, 17-10 with a 2.98 ERA, didn’t stick around the clubhouse afterward to confirm it but, yes, Lasorda feels he is pitching weary.
“I think he’s tired, he had over 100 innings in winter ball . . . he has to be tired,” Lasorda said. “We have to give him rest, and critique what he’s doing wrong, and hope to get him back on the right track.”
Padre interim president Dick Freeman and Manager Jack McKeon met with agent Jerry Kapstein for two hours today to discuss potential free agent pitcher Andy Hawkins. They will meet again this week before the club leaves for Houston. Where it once appeared that signing Hawkins would be a longshot because of differences between Kapstein and former Padre President Chub Feeney, McKeon now appears confident. “Let’s just say the lines of communication are open,” McKeon said. It appears the biggest difference won’t be money--his new deal probably will average about $700,00 a year--but length of contract. Kapstein reportedly is interested in a three-year deal, while the Padres prefer two years. A compromise could be two years with an option year. McKeon will meet today with Steve Greenberg, the agent for the other potential Padre free-agent pitcher, Eric Show. His new contract could average $1 million a year. No matter how well talks proceed, it seems unlikely the Padres will sign either before they declare themselves free agents, which will happen in a 15-day period beginning with the day after the World Series ends. Once a player is a free agent, his current club must sign him by Jan. 8 or be banned from signing him until May 1. How much money would the Padres have saved if they signed the two pitchers around the All-Star break, as both players’ agents encouraged? The prices automatically rise when other clubs enter the bidding, and in at least one case statistics will cost them even more. At that break, Show was 6-9 with a 3.67 ERA. Today he is 16-11 with a 3.26 ERA. . . . For the second consecutive day since resigning, Padre president Chub Feeney reported to work and then viewed the game from his seat in the owner’s box. . . . Randy Smith, Padre assistant farm director, has been promoted to director of scouting, a title that accompanies a job he has essentially been doing anyway. Smith, 25, joined the Padres in the fall of 1984. Smith will no longer report to farm director Tom Romenesko, but to the club’s vice president of baseball operations, whoever that may be after Jack McKeon surrenders the title this winter. Priscilla Oppenheimer, secretary to Smith and Romenesko, has been promoted to administrator of minor league operations.
Show’s complete game, his 13th this season and eighth in his past 11 starts, gave the Padres a team-record-tying 4 consecutive complete games, which started with Ed Whitson on Saturday, followed by Greg Harris on Sunday and Dennis Rasmussen on Monday. They share the record with four members of the 1976 Padres--Brent Strom, Alan Foster, Dave Freisleben and Randy Jones. They completed games from June 6-9. . . . When Orel Hershiser takes the mound tonight in an attempt to stretch his streak of 49 scoreless innings into a major-league record-tying 58 innings, he will be facing a Padre team in its home finale that has, in its last 25 innings, collected 19 runs on 32 hits. . . . On Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda walking around the press box during the game, McKeon said, “I wish you guys would have called down. I’d have been up there with him. We could have managed from the press box.” . . . Rob Nelson hit his first career homer in the third inning, a 400-foot drive to center on a first pitch from Tim Leary. “It really didn’t hit me until I reached third base,” Nelson said. “Then I broke open a big smile and realized I had hit my first home run. It was a relief. I was wondering if I was ever going to hit one.” The homer came in only his 59th big-league at-bat.