The Angels' past, present and future were all considered--at length and in depth--during and following their 6-4 victory over the Oakland A's before 36,027 fans at Anaheim Stadium Friday night.
The past: Reggie Jackson's home run swing. It hadn't been sighted in these parts in three months, not since May 14, but Friday, Jackson connected on career home run No. 541, giving the Angels a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
The present: John Candelaria's left elbow. Unfortunately for Candelaria and the Angels, it's still showing a little tenderness. On Thursday, he was questionable, but by Friday evening, Candelaria decided to give it a go. After allowing two hits through five innings, Candelaria was forced to leave in the sixth when the elbow stiffened up again.
The future: Reggie Jackson's 1987 Angel contract. There isn't going to be one, at least according to Jackson's postgame proclamation.
"I already know where I'll be next year," Jackson said in response to a reporter's question. "It ain't gonna be here. If I start hitting the ball, I'll be selling papers for you guys. I'll tell you all about it."
Jackson has been at odds with Angel General Manager Mike Port since spring training over the idea of a one-year contract extension. Jackson wants to play a final season in '87, and play it in Anaheim, but Port is committed to youth.
Before Friday, Jackson was batting .255 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. He had gone 33 games without a home run in Anaheim Stadium and had hit just three overall since May 14. Even Dick Schofield, with 11, had homered more frequently in 1986 than Reggie.
Those aren't the kinds of numbers conducive to off-season negotiations for a 40-year-old designated hitter.
"Thirty-nine RBIs makes you want to throw up," said Jackson, reciting his up-to-date total. And if you're Reggie Jackson, it also makes you want to give up the singles-first approach you had adopted through much of the first half of the season.
"I was kind of putting the ball into play because I had a feeling if I didn't, I wasn't going to play anymore," Jackson said. "Bleep it. I ain't gonna hit .300, but I can still hit a ball 410 feet once in a while. I want to get back to what I've done my entire career."
Jackson's home run came with Joyner and Brian Downing on base, and Candelaria protected his lead through five innings, yielding just two hits--one a solo home run by Mickey Tettleton--while striking out five.
But by the top of the sixth, Candelaria's elbow would allow him to go no more. He tried to pitch to Rusty Tillman but with a 3-0 count had to give way to Doug Corbett.
"Candelaria felt a little stiffness after the fifth inning," Mauch said. "It's been there, to a certain extent, after every outing.
"I've had pitchers with tender elbows before, but I don't know if I've ever had one this good with a tender elbow. When I talked to him a moment ago, he said he'd be able to tell me more about it tomorrow."
Candelaria made 83 pitches as he improved his record to 6-1, with help from the Angel bullpen. Corbett was one of three relievers employed by Mauch, preceding Gary Lucas and Donnie Moore, who earned his 14th save. The victory increased the Angels' lead over Texas in the American League West to 2 1/2 games.
An error by Schofield laid the groundwork for a three-run seventh inning for Oakland. Carney Lansford led off with a grounder to shortstop, which Schofield scooped up and then threw past Joyner at first base. Pinch-hitter Mike Davis followed with a double to right, and Donnie Hill cleaned the bases with a home run, also to right. It was his third homer of the season, slicing the Angels' advantage to 5-4.
Lucas came on and retired three A's in order and began the eighth inning by striking out Bruce Bochte.
Mauch then brought in Moore to pitch to right-handed sluggers Jose Canseco and Dave Kingman. Moore struck out Canseco but barely handled Kingman, who drove a ball to the deepest part of the stadium. Gary Pettis made a leaping catch against the center-field fence to end the inning.
The Angels added a run in the bottom of the eighth when Jackson singled, tagged and advanced to second on Doug DeCinces' fly-out, then scored on a single by Schofield.
"That was a big run," said Mauch, who was impressed in particular by Jackson's hustle on his sprint into second base. "When he hit that home run, he was probably 30 years old again. Those are the kinds of things he used to do when he was 30."