Page 16-Tuesday, July 11, 1978-The Michigan Daily
THE SPORTING VIEWS
Tigers still sad . . . . .
... cuz coaching is bad
By GARY KICINSKI
O HERE IT IS, the All-Star break, and those danged Tigers aren't look-
ing much better, standing-wise, than they have at any of the last three
Sure, they're playing at an even .500 clip, but not even Manager Ralph
Houk would deny that the season has been somewhat of a disappointment
This was to have been the year when the Tigers started to move toward
and above respectability. With a pair of hot-shot rookies at the keystone
positions and plenty of promising young players in the outfield and on the
mound, the Tigers were predicted to move as high as third in the standings.
But as yet the Tigers have shown little potential to become a third-place
club, despite the fact that many players, on the surface, are having fine
seasons at the plate.
How can a team that's second in the league in hitting find itself in fifth
place in its division, you ask?
it's simple - the young Tigers are simply inadequate when it comes to
executing baseball's fundamentals.
Some people say, well, they're young, and they're going to make
mistakes. But time and again these mistakes keep appearing, giving one the
impression that no one is working with the players to correct the mistakes.
That's why the biggest reason the Tigers are in fifth place is because of
I used to be one of Ralph Houk's staunchest supporters, but the more I
see of the '78 Tigers the less I want to see of the '78 Tigers.
Hits are coming, but ...
The Tigers have a collection of fine hitters, and they always get their
nine or ten hits a game. That's why they're second in the league in hitting.
The reason they're in fifth place is that they can't execute the sacrifice, they
can't run the bases, and they have a difficult time getting anyone other than
Rusty Staub and Jason Thompson to produce runs,
Take Ron LeFlore, for example. LeFlore leads the league in runs and
has 31 stolen bases, but still could be a much better player than he is with the
The Tigers realized last summer that LeFlore could become an even
greater asset to the club if he could be taught how to bunt properly. So the
Tigers supposedly made that a top priority this spring. But LeFlore still is
not even a threat to bunt. In fact, save for Steve Kemp and Lou Whitaker,
none of the Tigers seem to be able to execute this simple task that most of the
other major league teams handle with no problem.
On the bases, LeFlore and Whitaker are getting by with raw speed.
Neither one really knows how to take a leadoff or get a jump on the pitcher,
as is especially evidenced by LeFlore's tendency to get picked off.
The current Tiger coaching staff (Gates Brown, Dick Tracewski, et al.),
probably has a career stolen base total of less than LeFlore's current
amount. Why don't they bring in somebody who can show the club how to
bunt, how to steal, and how not to get trapped between bases?
LeFlore could be better
While they're at it, why not get someone to show LeFlore the proper way
to swing the bat? The Tigers seem to be afraid to mess with LeFlore's unor-
thodox, yet successful, batting style. Yet who knows what he could hit if the
speedster knew how to swing?-
It seems as if all of LeFlore's hits are bouncers off the handle and
through the infield, and more often, opposite-field line shots where LeFlore
barely gets the bat on the ball. LeFlore's late-swing habit induced the
Rangers to play a wrong-side shift against him in the just-concluded series,
where shortstop Bert Campaneris played just barely to the left side of the
second base bag.
The coaching staff has been lax in ether Areas as well. Outfield throws
have gone to the wrong bases. Pitchers have been left in too long. Players
have been permitted to bat when a pinch-hitter was obviously needed.
As an example, in two different Yankee games this year, rookie catcher
Lance Parrish was allowed to bat in 'he ninth inning against Rich Gossage
with the Tigers trailing. It doesn't , any baseball expert to know that
Gossage is probably the toughest pitcht e in either league against righthan-
ded batters, and Gossage made Parrish look pretty bad at the plate.
Some will say that Houk and his comrades can only do the best they can
with the talent they've got. But I believe the Tigers have plenty of talent
that's not being exploited to its fullest potential. What's worse, the mistakes
they've been making that can best be corrected while they're still young,
have gone uncorrected.
Blue, last AL hurler
to win a Star game,
now on bill for NL
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Vida Blue, the
winning pitcher the last time the
American League won an All-Star
game, will try to keep the Nationals in
control of this mid-season rivalry
tonight in the 49th annual game.
Blue was the starting pitcher for the
AL in the 1971 game at Detroit when the
Americans won 6-4. They haven't won
one since and they'll try to end a six-
game losing streak with Blue on the
mound for the Nationals. He switched
"MY PITCHER'S a little tired," Mar-
tin said of Guidry. "In his last couple of
starts, he didn't have his usual velocity.
When they go to their left-handed hit-
ters, I'll go to my left-handed pitchers."
Martin, meanwhile, had injury
problems to consider. With three AL
players - catcher Thurman Munson,
outfielder Carl Yastrzemski and third
baseman Graig Nettles - already
withdrawn from the game because of
injuries, shortstop Rick Burleson joined
lB-Rod Carew, Minnesota
3B-George Brett, Kansas City
LF-Jim Rice, Boston
RF-Richie Zisk, Texas
C-Carlton Fisk, Boston
CF-Reggie Jackson, New York
2B-Don Money, Milwaukee
SS-Fred Patek, Kansas City
P-Jim Palmer, Baltimore
leagues in a spring training trade from
Oakland to San Francisco.
NATIONAL League Manager Tom
Lasorda announced his selection of
Blue yesterday. He will face
Baltimore's Jim Palmer, the starting
and losing pitcher for the American
League last year when the Nationals
scored their sixth straight victory and
14th in the last 15 years, 7-5 at Yankee
"He's familiar with their batters but
that's not the only reason I'm starting
him," Lasorda said of Blue. "Right
now, I think he's the best pitcher in the
AL Manager Billy Martin hopes
Palmer, Baltimore's ace right-hander,
does better than he did a year ago when
he was belted for first-inning home runs
by Joe Morgan and Greg Luzinski.
Morgan and Luzinski are both back in
the NL starting lineup.
Martin's selection of Palmer as his
starting pitcher raised some eyebrows.
Left-hander Ron Guidry of the
Yankees, who won his first 13 games
this season, had been expected to start.
3B-Pete Rose, Cincinnati
2B-Joe Morgan, Cincinnati
RF-George Foster, Cincinnati
LF-Greg Luzinski, Philadelphia
lB-Steve Garvet, Los Angeles
C-Ted Simmons, St. Louis
CF-Rick Monday, Los Angeles
SS-Larry Bowa, Philadelphia
P-Vida Blue, San Francisco
the list of ailing players.
With Burleson scratched from the AL
roster, Martin named another Red Sox
infielder, second baseman Jerry
Remy, to the squad. Earlier AL injury
replacements were outfielder Larry
Hisle for Nettles, catcher Darrell Por-
ter for Munson and outfielder Dwight
Evans for Yastrzemski.
The-National League had its own in-
jury problems. Johnny Bench, elected
starting catcher for the ninth straight
.year, pulled himself out of the NL
lineup because of continuing back
problems. "He's wearing a corset,"
said Lasorda. "The best he could have
done would be pinch hit."
ATLANTA catcher Biff Pocoroba
replaced Bench on the NL roster and
Lasorda announced that Ted Simmons
of St. Louis would be the starting cat-
First baseman Steve Garvey of the
Dodgers suffered a 20-stitich cut in his
chin Saturday night but played on Sun-
day and will be in the starting lineup for
the NL tonight.
Feverish Reggie pulls
out, Nettles fills -in
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Outfielder fielder in tonight's 49th annual game
Reggie Jackson of the New York against the National League. He missed
Yankees pulled out of the All-Star yesterday's workout but telephoned
Game late yesterday because of a high Manager Billy Martin at San Diego
fever and will be replaced by teammate Stadium and told him he had a fever of
Graig Nettles, who earlier had been between 102 and 102 degrees and was en
scratched from the AL roster with an route to see his doctor.
injured toe. Martin then replaced the Yankee
Jackson was scheduled to be the slugger on the roster with Nettles, who
American. League's starting center- was runner-up in the balloting at third.