The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, June 6, 1979-Page 11
Tiges wnnig rcip.. .
THE SPORTING VIEWS Tgerswinningrecipe...g.
_______________________blend pitching, power
By TOM STEPHENS
The Tiger Stadium bleachers are shut down for
season-long renovations, and the Bengals are in
Seattle still a fifth-place club trying to turn them-
selves into contenders.
Steve Kemp and Company served notice last
week they should be taken seriously as pennant
chasers, taking four of six against New York and
Baltimore. They continued their winning ways on
the road, sweeping four from Toronto and two of
three against Oakland.
It's apparent that this year's Tiger team is the
best since the glory days of 1968. They boast of
substantial left-handed hitting power in a lefty's
ball park, a corps of young players who are
steadily improving, and some old veterans who
continue performing beyond their career expec-
tancies. Rusty Staub's bat remains poison to op-
The arms race
But there remain a few nagging problems the
Tigers must solve if they want to establish them-
selves as contenders by the all-star break. That
kind of position - in the midst of a tight race with
Baltimore, New York, Boston, and Milwaukee -
is just the right tonic to give the young Tigers the
confidence they need to keep them improving this
The mound men present the foremost problem.
Winning pitching duels in Oakland can completely
erase the memory of those lost home run derbies
in New York. There is no Denny McClain on the
scene, either. The Tigers need to put together a
rotation of five consistent game winners and a
consistent John Hiller if they want to hang in with
the likes of Boston and the Yankees.
Alan Trammell is another key to the Tigers'
future. He must continue his progression into a
bona fide shortstop, both in the field and at the
plate. And the potential hitting power must be
developed. Thompson, Staub, Kemp, and Parrish
are going to have to get downright monotonous in
their assaults on the outfield's blue seats. By
rights, those things should happen. The real
question is pitching.
As every armchair GM in Michigan knows, the
answer to that question is simple: trade. Milt May
is gone but Phil Mankowski, Jerry Morales, Tim
Corcoran (remember him?) Lynn Jones are all
possibilities. Dipping into the barrel for a quality
hurler would be the Bengals' best bet if they want
to contend in the next month and a half.
Manager Les Moss would be wise to oc-
casionally spell off Trammell and Lou Whitaker
by inserting Mark Wagner into the lineup. Wagner
deserves more playing time and both of the
keystone cubs have been bitten by battle
Now the Tigers have made their own move:
drafting Rick Leach in the first round. Why not a
pitcher? Maybe the club is looking ahead to the
day a few years ahead when they can field an all-
American college outfield of Kemp in left and
Leach and Kirk Gibson in center and right. Ron
LeFlore could certainly be persuaded to fill
Staub's shoes as DH - for the undeniable good of
the team - if all three of them continue to show
the-promise of great things to come.
The coming of Leach and Gibson into their own
will have to wait three or four years. Right now
Detroit fans will have to content themselves with
the current aggregation of exciting hitters. Those
hitters are all facing the fact right now that if they
are not batting at, or close to .300, then their star-
ting positions may be in jeopardy. Wagner, John
Wockenfuss, Jones, and Champ Summers are all
waiting, with fairly hot bats.
In their first home contest of the year with the
world champion New York Yankees, the Tigers
faced Ron Guidry on May 21 and got a complete
game from Jack Billingham to beat the Yankees,
3-1. That game set them off on a streak that stands
at 10 for 15 with ten more games upcoming against
relatively weak opponents. One of the high points
of that game came when Staub doubled, rumbled
efficiently to third on Thompson's ground ball, and
scored on a Guidry wild pitch. That started the
bleacher bums yelling so loud that it apparently
rattled the Cy Young winner into giving the Tigers
their first run of the evening.
The bleacher crowd has now been forced to join
Mark Fidrych on the. list of "things the Tigers
can't count on to help them out this year." Here's
hoping they get some more pitchers to fill the
MAJOR LEAGUE ROUNDUP
Twins slow Oriole pennant train
By The Associated-Press Royals 3, Yanks 1 Gura, 3-3, struck out three batters, scored on Thurman Munson's single to
BALTIMORE - Roy Smalley, the NEW YORK - Larry Gura scattered walked two and was touched for an right.
merican League's leading hitter, had three hits while the Kansas City Royals unearned run in the third inning. Bucky The Royals got to Tiant, 1-2, for a run
o hits and drove in two runs to lead r dDent was safe when shortstop Freddie in the first inning when Amos Otis
e hisa drowins to rs -itod roughed up Luis Tiant early and beat Patek failed to field his grounder. Dent walked, stole second and came home on
e Minnesota Twins to a 3-1 victory the New York Yankees 3-1 last night. then took second on a wild pitch and Darrell Porter's single to left.
ver the Baltimore Orioles last night.
Smalley and Butch Wynegar singled
me Minnesota runs in the third inning *
3d Smalley, who upped his average to *X-
89, added a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
PAUL HARTZELL, 3-3, who entered * -X*
e game with a lifetime 1.38 earned
in average against Baltimore, didn't * *
low an Oriole runner beyond first -X-
ise until Pat Kelly doubled in the nin- * '
. Mike Marshall came in with two"
nners on to get the last two outs andA
cord his 12th save of the season.SP U
The first two hits off Hartzell were * WOOD'S POL A RGUA RD ALL LEVI'S *
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The Twins rapped six hits off Steve * 2-MAN withAN NYLON *
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urth. A walk to John Castino and a * - ,
ngle by Hosken Howell preceded the *I $t r $3298 *
an-scoring singles by Wynegar and *SPE CIAL w fly reg $42.98 SALE *
malley in the third. SALE ENDS SAT., JUNE
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