* Hurting Hurst: Left-hander Bruce Hurst of the San Diego Padres has averaged 16 victories over the last three years and was 15-11 with a 2.89 earned-run average last year, but he is now 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA, has totalled only 5 1/3 innings in his last two starts and has a 6.11 ERA for nine starts since pitching his only complete game May 12.

"He gets down on himself very easily and has lost his confidence," pitching coach Pat Dobson said. "You put pressure on yourself and it becomes a domino effect. Before you know it, you're fried before you start."

* Another Frying: Alan Anderson of the Minnesota Twins is experiencing a similar siege. Anderson was the American League's ERA leader at 2.45 in 1988, won 17 games last year and is now 2-10, has won only once since April 14 and has allowed nine or more hits in each of his last five starts.

Said outfielder Dan Gladden, a frustrated pitching coach: "Maybe Alan Anderson should try a little Vaseline."

* Back in Stride: Matt Nokes hit 32 home runs as a Detroit Tiger rookie in 1987, then slipped to 16 in '88 and nine last year when his season ended in early June because of a knee injury. Nokes was recently traded to the New York Yankees and hit four home runs in his first 48 at-bats after hitting three with the Tigers in 111. Nokes credited the Yankees' hiring of former Detroit teammate Darrell Evans as batting coach, explaining that Evans quickly saw that he was overstriding.

"In '87, when I hit all those home runs, he hit in front of me," Nokes said. "It's hard to explain, but it was like we were on the same wave length. He would hit a home run and I could see how he did it, then more often than not I'd hit one."

* St. Louis Blues: The Cardinals arrived in Los Angeles 11th in the National League in team batting, 12th in runs and home runs, 10th in team pitching and 12th and last in number of times being hit by pitch.

"Hell, they're not even throwing at us," Manager Whitey Herzog moaned.

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