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September 12, 1990 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-12

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The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, September 12, 1990 - Page 11

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Ottina V14 OWS lp.'\ spotn lw

Division leaders face
last-minute surges

by Eric Sklar
Daily Sports Contributor
As the baseball season enters its
final month and two division title
contenders per division remain, one
question persists concerning the di-
vision champions. Will the front-
runners be able to maintain their
leads?
The best race by far is in the NL
East. The Pirates lead the Mets by
three-and-a-half games, with two se-
ries left between the two teams. Al-
ough the Pirates face an easier
schedule down the stretch, the Mets
will end up winning the division.
Darryl Strawberry becomes a free
.agent at the end of the season and a
.big September will help in contract
negotiations, so he will catch fire
again. Howard Johnson has solidified
since assuming the shortstop duties.
However, the Mets pitching will de-
throne the Pirates. Frank Viola leads
* formidable staff with pennant race
texperience to spare. The staff also
fatures the league's best stopper,
John Franco.
'- Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla
wve carried the Pirates of late, but
Andy Van Slyke has been injured. If
Pittsburgh is to hold off the Mets, it
will need his leadership and ability.
Doug Drabek and Neal Heaton are
having career years for Pittsburgh,
*ombining for the Pirates' only
premier pitching displays this sea-
son.
v The Reds have stood atop the NL
'West for the entire season, and al-
though their lead has evaporated, no
team has been able to assume first
place. The only club with a chance
to win the division is the L.A.
Dodgers, who pose a small threat, if
jny. The season is likely to end be-
,ore the streaking Dodgers can catch
the Reds.
Eddie Murray continues to
sparkle for Los Angeles, while Kal
Daniels and Hubie Brooks have fol-
lowed his example. But Ramon Mar-
tinez's arm can only catapult the
Dodgers so far.

The Reds boast a better lineup.
Chris Sabo and Barry Larkin remain
the best offensive infield duo in the
division. Eric Davis' season-long
slump appears to have ended, which
would give any team an edge in mid-
September.
The American League's only race
is in the Eastern division. Toronto
will win the division, despite trail-
ing Boston by four games, a team
which blanked the Blue Jays in three
straight meetings. Roger Clemens'
injury, and a weak supporting cast
give Toronto the edge in pitching.
Fred McGriff provides the advantage
for the Jays at the plate.
In the AL West there is no con-
test. The Oakland A's will take the
division. The recent acquisitions of
Harold Baines and Willie McGee
make a great team better, while
Rickey Henderson is the top MVP
candidate. The White Sox are too
young and inexperienced to erase the
A's nine-and-a-half game lead. Be-
sides, the A's pitching is too good to
collapse.

IRISH
Continued from page 1
kicking the ball away from Ismail.
"Ismail has the ability to go over
and get it. There's a point when your
can't kick it away from him," he
said. Moeller's view is that kicking
the ball toward the sidelines runs the
risk of the ball going out of bounds,
giving Notre Dame better field
position than Michigan can afford.
Murray said the team has
approached the special teams situa-
tion by watching more films than it
has in the past and by concentrating
more on technique in covering
kickoffs.
"We have (worked on the kicking
game)," Moeller said. "I think yott
do as much mentally as you do
physically. We have practiced awful-
ly hard on kickoffs. But see a kickoff
is a hard thing to practice, because if
you practice a kickoff too many-
times, half your team might not bii
able to make it. I mean to run that
distance over and over and have all
that blocking and tackling going on,
you're risking injury there. Kickoffs
are a thing you have to practice
mentally. I don't know if many
teams practice kickoffs very often.";,
Traditionally, the special teams
have been a haven for younger
players to prove their worth to the
coaching staff. But with so much at
stake Saturday, a change might be in
order (read: look for a few more
veterans on the field while the two
teams are switching possession).
Said Notre Dame head coach Lou
Holtz: "I don't think there's any
doubt he'll (Ismail) be a marked
man, but we're not going to do
anything different."

SPSIN IFOR~MAIOLNP
Explosive Irish tailback Ricky Watters is just one of the many worries for head coach Gary Moeller and the
Wolverines. Two years ago in South Bend, Watters ran away from Michigan, returning a punt 81 yards for
Notre Dame's only touchdown in a 19-17 victory.

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Michigan Alumni
work here:
The
Wall Street
Journal
The
New York Times
The
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The
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The
Detroit News
NBC Sports
Associated Press
Newsweek
Sports Illustrated
USA Today
Because they
worked here:
WORK STUDY
positions available with
research group at:
U of M Psychological
Clinic
Students from all academic disciplines
are encouraged to apply.

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