THIS DAY IN SP78 HISTORY
September 23, 2000

Royals backup catcher Art Kusnyer, who was called up from Omaha of the American Association on June 18th to replace an injured John Wathan, hit his first home run of the SP78 season – and his first since 1972 – in the second game of an Oakland-KC doubleheader at site ESC11 in Escondido, California. Kusnyer’s shot had given the Royals a 4-3 edge, but A’s second baseman Mike Edwards tied it with an RBI single in the ninth, and outfielder Glenn Burke won it with a home run in the 11th, a two-run blast off Steve Mingori that gave the A’s a 6-4 win and a split of their twinbill at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.  (Game #1038,  7/2/78)

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Giants Remain in NL West Hunt Through July

While the Dodgers and Padres have been battling each other for first place in the NL West, the Giants have been quietly biding their time in the third place position, never straying more than five games back and hoping to make a move if the top two teams happen to implode. With an SP78 won-lost record of 63-42, the Giants’ mark is nearly identical to that of their 1978 counterparts, who were 63-43 and sitting atop the West by the end of July, just a stone’s throw ahead of the Reds and Dodgers. And with six games scheduled against LA during the first half of August, the Giants may find themselves leading the division at some point over the next few weeks.

Keeping the Giants alive in July were their pitching staff, whose team ERA topped the National League with an eye-popping 1.58. Randy Moffitt and Charlie Williams both went 4-0 for the month, and John Montefusco led all starters with a 0.87 mark (only two members of the staff had an ERA higher than 1.89). At the plate, Mike Ivie’s .339 average was tops on the team, and his .389 BA for the season ranks among the league leaders in the NL. Jack Clark leads the squad with 20 home runs and 60 runs batted in through July, while Willie McCovey is still waiting for his elusive 500th career home run; with just three HRs hit this season, he’s still four pokes short of the milestone.

To take a look at how the Giants are doing through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

Padres Keep Pace with Dodgers in July

The surprising San Diego Padres kept pace in the NL West with the front-running Dodgers throughout the month of July, posting a respectable 17-12 record and remaining just two games out of first place by the end of the month (and doing this despite leading the NL with 40 errors, nine ejections, and ten runners picked off base). At this time during the actual 1978 season, the Padres had a record of 54-52 (compared to 65-40 in SP78) and were in fourth place, nine games behind the first-place Giants.

Gene Richards led the team with a .340 average for the month, while Dave Winfield connected for eight home runs and collected 17 RBI to lead in the power department. And though Gaylord Perry led the starting rotation with a 1.80 ERA (and is currently 14-4 for the season), it was Bob Owchinko who dominated the won-lost column, going 4-0 in six starts and posting an impressive 2.16 ERA. Relief ace Rollie Fingers was 1-0 with five saves and a 0.63 earned run average over 12 relief appearances, and is a solid contender for the NL Fire Chief Trophy.

To peruse the Padres page for stats through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked, which will be soon.

Bucs’ Subpar July Hinders NL East Chances

After posting an impressive 18-10 won-lost record in June, the Pittsburgh Pirates slumped to 10-18 in July, putting a momentary damper on their chances at the top spot in the Phillies-controlled NL East. The good news is, the two teams blocking their path, the Cubs and Expos, also had disappointing records in July. The bad news: the two teams trailing them, the Mets and Cardinals, are closing in fast, setting up a possible 5-team August logjam for second place in the East. And along with that, one glaring fact remains: the Bucs are still in fourth place, 18 games back of first place, with just two months to go in the regular season.

Outfielder Bill Robinson led the squad in July with a .366 average, and his 26 hits were second best behind Dave Parker, who had 28. But as a team the Pirates hit just .234, and Parker’s four home runs were—sadly—enough to lead the Bucs’ power-deficient offense. Starter Jim Rooker had an earned run average of 2.12 in five starts, and a trio of relievers (Kent Tekulve, Bruce Kison, and Grant Jackson) all had ERA’s hovering around 1.75. But the team lost 18 games in July, tied for the NL lead, and they carry a 4-game losing streak heading into August.

To check out the Pirates page for stats through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

Phillies Dominate NL East Through July

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their rampant supremacy of the NL East through the first four months of the SP78 season, posting a 22-6 record in July and solidifying their hold on first place in the division, while increasing their lead over the second place Cubs to a demoralizing 15 games. Their season record improved to 65-38, good for second-best in the major leagues; they’re the only team from either league to have stayed in the top spot of their division for the entire season. From a statistical standpoint, the Phils led all NL teams in batting average and slugging percentage in July, and were third in team ERA.

Individual player numbers were staggering as well. Richie Hebner hit .419 for the month, tops in the NL, while Larry Bowa’s league-leading 153 hits for the season has helped him to a team-best .342 average over 99 games played. Greg Luzinski leads the Phils in home runs with 27 and RBI with 65, while Hebner and team captain Mike Schmidt have contributed in the HR department with 20 round-trippers each. On the mound, Larry Christenson leads the Phils’ staff with 13 wins, while reliever Ron Reed’s 12 saves and 0.57 ERA rank among the best in the NL.

To take a look at the Phillies statistics page through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and after July award winners have been picked.

TWISP Notes #67

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TWISP Notes

August 7, 2017

• National League statistics for July have been finalized, and are in the process of being uploaded to the SP78 site; the Mets are the most recent team to have their stats posted. Stats for the American League are still being calculated and waiting to be added to the site; the Orioles, Red Sox, and Angels are complete, while the White Sox are currently in-progress, with ten AL teams still on the docket to be completed.

• Catcher Johnny Oates made his first appearance of the season for the Dodgers on August 15th against the Phillies, after his recent call-up from AAA Albuquerque. He grounded out in a pinch-hitting appearance, then took over for Steve Yeager behind the plate, where in the next inning he threw out the first baserunner he faced, Larry Bowa, who was trying to steal second.

• The Brewers snapped their 6-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays, in the second game of their Tuesday twinbill at County Stadium. Mike Caldwell will go for his 19th win of the season when he faces the Jays the following night.

• Tribe first baseman Andre Thornton hit his first grand slam of the SP78 season—and the first of his career—to help the Indians to a 9-4 win over the Twins at Municipal Stadium. The shot came off Minnesota reliever Darrell Jackson, and gave Cleveland a 9-0 lead after just two innings. For Thornton, it was his 22nd HR of the season.

• The Red Sox have won five games in a row, while the Astros have lost five in a row.

• In his second game after converting from shortstop to left field, Cardinals phenom Todd Benefiel went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored to help the resurgent Cards to a 6-4 win over the Astros. Benefiel is now batting an even .400 since his August 1st call-up from Springfield of the American Association.

• The White Sox set an SP78 record by committing six errors in their game against the Rangers at Arlington Stadium on August 15th. The errors—by Francisco Barrios, Eric Soderholm, Lamar Johnson, Claudell Washington, and two by Ralph Garr—led to four unearned runs, and helped Texas coast to a 10-1 win. The six gaffes broke the mark of 5 held by four other teams.

• The Mariners lost shortstop Craig Reynolds to injury on August 15th when he collided with left fielder Tom Paciorek during the eighth inning of a game against the Orioles at the Kingdome. Reynolds was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day; with utility infielder Larry Milbourne available to cover short, the M’s bolstered their pitching staff by calling up Mike Parrott from the San Jose Missions of the Pacific Coast League.

• And an SP78 goodbye to Angels slugger and potential AL MVP Don Baylor, who passed away today at the age of 68.

Fans! Be sure to catch Baseball Night on C-SPAN when 16-game winner
Rick Waits and the Indians square off against Mark Fidrych and the Tigers
at Tiger Stadium in Detroit
!

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