Tag Archives: 1978

July Was Best Month for Persistent Royals

The defending AL West champion Kansas City Royals have not spent one day in first place in their division this season, yet they’ve managed to quietly remain within striking distance of the front-running Rangers and Twins throughout the SP78 campaign. The Royals finished July in second place with a record of 58-45, five games behind the Rangers and 1½ ahead of the Twins, and after All-Star MVP George Brett and ace reliever Al Hrabosky were placed on the disabled list in July, KC was still able to round out the month with a decent 17-11 mark, their best won-lost of the year. And with both injured players set to return to the lineup in mid-August, the Royals seem ready to come out of hiding and make a move for the West flag.

Before he was lost to injury, Brett led all Royals starters for the month with a .340 average, and tied Hal McRae for the team lead in hits, with 33; his 125 hits, 42 doubles, and 66 RBI leads the team overall. Amos Otis led the squad with just five home runs in July, and his 16 for the season ties Hal McRae for best on the team for the season. On the mound, Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorff each recorded four victories for the month, and Leonard’s 14 wins has him on pace to win 20 for the second straight year. As for team stats, KC is 18-3 in shutout wins for the season, and has a perfect 8-0 mark in games where a team has scored ten runs or more; they also finished July winning nine of their last eleven games.

To take a look at the Royals team page for results 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 AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.


So-So July Keeps Tigers in AL East Hunt

The Detroit Tigers finished July with a middling 15-14 mark, but managed to stay glued to third place in the AL East, where they began the month with a 41-35 record and were just 6½ games out of first. Now, they remain in third with a won-lost of 56-48, but have dropped two games to 8½ back of the front-running Yankees. The month ahead looks at least somewhat promising, however; nearly half of their schedule pits Detroit against the second-division Blue Jays, White Sox, and Indians. The bad news is, the other half of the docket consists of games against the Brewers, Twins, and Rangers.

The Tigers displayed some solid individual performances in July that helped offset their mediocre won-lost total. Part-time player Tim Corcoran returned as a starter in right field and responded with a .409 average for the month, while Steve Kemp continued to wield a hot bat, hitting .327 for July and currently leading the team overall with 18 home runs and 63 RBI. Phil Mankowski played a majority of the squad’s games at third, hitting .308 in 23 games. Almost forgotten in the stolen base race was Ron LeFlore, who swiped 20 in July and has 57 on the year; another pair of 20-steal months will allow LeFlore to break Cobb’s AL record of 96, if Seattle’s Julio Cruz doesn’t do it first.

On the mound, starter Dave Rozema went 4-1 with a 1.35 earned run average for the month, while veteran John Hiller had four saves and a 1.15 ERA in a relief capacity. Rozema’s season mark of 13-5 leads all starters, as does his 1.85 ERA; Hiller’s 6-0 won-lost, 12 saves and 0.53 ERA for ’78 puts him in the running for the Rolaids Relief Man Award in the American League. And the return of Mark Fidrych from injuries sustained in 1977 seems to be a success; his 4-2 mark and 2.07 ERA have helped keep the Tigers in hot pursuit of the AL East flag.

To check out the Tigers team page for statistics 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 AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

TWISP Notes #68


March 6, 2018

• Milwaukee ace Mike Caldwell became the first SP78 pitcher to win 19 games this season when the Brewers topped the Blue Jays 4-2 at County Stadium on August 16th. Caldwell (19-4) was one out away from securing his 17th complete game, but a walk and a pair of base hits by the Jays prompted a relief appearance from Ed Farmer, who coaxed a fly out from Dave McKay to end the threat. Caldwell will go for his 20th on August 22nd, when he faces the Indians in the first game of a twinbill at Milwaukee.

• Tribe southpaw Rick Waits, going for his 17th win of the year, settled for a no-decision after departing in the eighth of a 2-2 game between the Indians and Tigers at Detroit. It took 14 innings, but the Tribe ultimately came out on top by an 11-3 count.

• With a theft of second base off Orioles starter Mike Flanagan in the sixth inning of their game at the Kingdome, Julio Cruz of the Mariners recorded his 90th steal of the season, helping the M’s top the O’s 3-2. Cruz is now just six steals shy of the AL season record of 96, held by Tiger great Ty Cobb, and barring injury has a good chance of breaking Cardinals speedster Lou Brock’s major league record of 118, set in 1974.

• The final SP78 game for August 16th, a match-up between the Twins and Indians that was won by the Tribe 9-4, was the 67th game hosted by site AZ18 in Peoria, tying it with my friend Julie’s RB11 condo in Rancho Bernardo for 7th on the all-time games hosted list.

• Mets starter Pat Zachry silenced the powerhouse Padres in front of a rabid Shea Stadium crowd with a 1-hit shutout on August 16th, the third one-hitter of his young career. The only SD hit Zachry allowed was a single to Gene Richards with two out in the sixth, ending his bid for his first no-hit game, but he shut down the Padres the rest of the way to improve to 14-9 on the year.

• In 39.1 innings pitched over five starts in July, Rangers pitcher Jon Matlack gave up just on walk, and that one was intentional.

• Royals DH Hal McRae smacked the third grand slam of his career on August 16th against the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium, a shot to left field off Dave Goltz that capped a 6-run third inning for KC in a 7-4 win. His previous slam came in 1974, off Chuck Dobson of the Angels.

• With the Game 2 loss to the Angels in an August 12th doubleheader, the Mariners became the first SP78 team to complete 75% of their scheduled games for the season. With 121 games played so far, the M’s have just 41 left to play before their season comes to a close.

• After being charged with catcher interference in the second inning, then allowing the game-tying run to score in the 10th on a passed ball, Indians catcher Bo Diaz finally blew his top in the 13th, screaming at home plate umpire Ron Luciano over balls and strikes calls and prompting his second ejection of the season. The Indians won the game 11-3 in 14.

• The Brewers called up pitcher Mark Bomback from their PCL affiliate in Spokane, filling the spot vacated by pitcher Willie Mueller, who was sent down to AAA after going 0-2 with no saves and a 6.74 ERA over seven relief appearances in July and August.

• Season statistics through July have been completed for the remaining AL teams, and the process of loading these stats onto the SP78 blog site will commence immediately, beginning with the Tigers tonight. Look for a post detailing Detroit highlights in July later this week.

SP78 Fans! August 20th is Cards Jacket Day at Busch Memorial Stadium!


July Stats Contribute to Tribe’s Puzzling Season

Legendary manager Connie Mack of the Philadelphia A’s once said that pitching is 75% of baseball. The SP78 edition of the Cleveland Indians are trying their best to prove him right: through July, the Tribe are batting .294 as a team, with five regulars hitting over .300 for the season, and Buddy Bell, Bernie Carbo, and Jim Norris all hitting over .350 in July. Why then did the team finish the month with a 13-17 mark, good for sixth place in the AL East and a current record of 47-59? One only has to look at the pitching staff for the answer: a 4.43 staff earned run average for the year, with three pitchers—Mike Paxton, David Clyde, and Paul Reuschel—stuck with ERA’s over 5.00.

Starting southpaw Rick Waits remains the only bright spot on the Indians staff, going 14-5 through July with a 2.73 ERA, 12 complete games, and five shutouts. In his three seasons with the Cleveland organization, he’s never had more than nine wins, and with two months left in the SP78 campaign, he has a good chance of reaching the coveted 20-win mark. Tribe bats remain hot, with Carbo leading the squad in average (.368), Bell in hits (141), and Andre Thornton in HR (21) and RBI (72), and Bell leading the AL in triples, with 14. But unless Indians hurlers can make a quick turnaround, the final two months of the season could be frustrating ones for Tribe fans.

To take a look at the Indians team page for results 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 AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

Lousy July Has Chisox Looking To Next Year

After an 11-21 July left the Chicago White Sox with an SP78 season mark of 35-70, good for last place in their division and the worst record in the major leagues, it’s safe to assume that, with two months left in the regular season and a 29-game climb to first place, the Sox won’t be repeating last year’s miraculous 92-70 third-place finish in the AL West. And with no trade opportunities on the horizon and a roster already stockpiled with minor league call-ups, it could be time for the Southsiders to begin playing out the string over the final two months of 1978.

The team hit a respectable .279 in July, but their pitching staff was less competitive, saddled with a 4.78 earned run average and just one shutout, a combined effort between Rich Wortham and Ron Schueler against the Brewers on July 25th. And though Steve Stone (3-2, 2.96) and reliever Wortham (2-1, 2.75) contributed solid numbers on the mound, both Wilbur Wood and Ken Kravec had ERA’s over 7.00, and both finished the month with won-lost records of 0-5. Veteran shortstop Don Kessinger, in his first full season with the Chisox, led all starters with a .321 batting average, while Eric Soderholm and Chet Lemon tied for the team lead in home runs, with five each. And mirroring the team’s SP78 woes, Statis Pro enthusiast Steve N. piloted the Sox to an 0-2 mark in July, the first two losses of his SP78 managerial career.

To take a look at the White Sox team page for results 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 AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.