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Lefties Don't Turn Out Right : Mauch's New Lineup Loses to Chicago, 3-1

September 15, 1986|MIKE PENNER | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — Necessity being the mother of invention, Angel Manager Gene Mauch found the circumstances right Sunday for the unveiling of his latest concoction: left-handed hitters on parade.

Mauch knew Doug DeCinces and Wally Joyner needed the day off to rest injured muscles. Mauch knew Bob Boone, Brian Downing, George Hendrick and Bobby Grich might appreciate some bench time after the previous night's 15-inning struggle.

And, with the right-handed Joe Cowley pitching for the Chicago White Sox, Mauch figured it might be time to really test the old righty-lefty theorem once and for all. So he crammed the Angels' lineup with left-handed batters--eight of them, plus Dick Schofield--and turned them loose against Cowley.

Well, a lot of good ideas remain good ideas. Cowley sent the experiment back to the lab, shutting down the Angels, 3-1, in front of 17,307 at Comiskey Park.

All of Mauch's left-handers couldn't put much of anything together against Cowley (10-9). They managed just six hits.

And the Angels' only run of the game was driven in by . . . yep, Mauch's only right-hander, Schofield.

In the wake of Saturday night's extra-inning victory, Mauch was already plotting the scenario for Cowley on Sunday. "We're going to load the lineup with left-handers and see what happens," Mauch said.

This is how Mauch loaded his lineup:

RF--Ruppert Jones.

CF--Gary Pettis, switch-hitter.

3B--Jack Howell.

DH-Reggie Jackson.

1B--Mark Ryal.

2B--Rob Wilfong.

C--Jerry Narron.

LF--Devon White, switch-hitter.

SS--Schofield.

Schofield crashed the all-lefty brigade because someone had to play shortstop. Mauch then sat back and observed it for nine innings.

His final analysis?

"It didn't matter much," Mauch said. "Jimmy (Fregosi, Chicago manager) is doing a good job with those pitchers. He has them sinking it and sliding it, instead of them going out there with no plan at all.

"Cowley, in the past, has done himself in with walks early (in the game). But he had a plan. He wasn't out there just because it's his turn in the rotation."

Cowley outpitched Kirk McCaskill (16-8), who did himself in by an ill-advised dive at a bunt attempt and three wild pitches. McCaskill's wildness directly cost him two runs.

And the White Sox needed the help. Fregosi's lineup featured four rookies and such names as Russ Morman, Dave Cochrane (.056) and Ron Karkovice (.196). The Hitless Wonders, '86 edition.

But the White Sox scored twice in the second inning and once in the sixth, which was enough to keep the Angels from adding to their division lead. The Texas Rangers lost to the Minnesota Twins and remain nine games behind the Angels.

Ron Hassey led off the second with a double, and Morman followed by pushing a bunt past McCaskill to the right side of the mound. McCaskill had little chance at the ball, which rolled all the way to Wilfong, but he lunged after it anyway.

He came away with a bruised flexor muscle in his right hip. By the seventh inning, the muscle cramped to the point where McCaskill had to leave the game.

"A stupid dive," McCaskill said. "I don't even know if I even could've thrown him out if I had gotten to the ball."

Mauch cringed when he watched his pitcher take a dive.

"I suppose I needed something else," Mauch said, referring to his battered cast of Angels.

"It really scared me at first; McCaskill whacked himself pretty good. I hope it's a bruise."

McCaskill: "It's nothing serious, but it did bother (me) right after it happened. The leg felt strange and, after awhile, the muscle cramped."

After McCaskill dusted himself off, he came back to strike out Cochrane and retire Ozzie Guillen on a sacrifice bunt, which put White Sox runners on second and third. Then came McCaskill's first wild pitch--a curveball in the dirt that Narron could not dig out. Hassey scored easily.

A single by Jack Perconte drove home Morman for Chicago's second run.

The White Sox made it 3-1 in the sixth inning when, with Cochrane on third base and Perconte on first, McCaskill unleashed a wild pitch to John Cangelosi.

Again, it was a curveball in the dirt. Again, Narron couldn't handle it. Again, a Chicago runner scored from third.

With Boone setting endurance records behind the plate, Narron hasn't seen much time at catcher this summer. Both pitches appeared catchable, although neither Mauch nor McCaskill would blame Narron.

"They were tough curveballs in the dirt," Mauch said. "(Narron) probably figured he'd catch both of them . . . and I think he did the best he could to catch them."

McCaskill: "Cangelosi's only about 3-7. A curveball has to be low to pitch to him. Both balls were in the dirt--and a curveball in the dirt is the toughest pitch in baseball to catch.

"That's the way it goes sometimes. I tip my hat to Cowley. He shut us down."

McCaskill didn't appear too distraught over the loss. A nine-game lead in a race with a fading challenger will do that to you.

"I don't think anybody here is worried too much about this loss," McCaskill said. After a pause, he looked up and asked, "What'd Texas do?"

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