Baltimore Oriole first baseman Eddie Murray finished April with a .181 batting average, 1 home run and 12 RBIs. It was only the third time in his 61 months as a major leaguer that he had hit less than .200 and it characterized the Orioles' inadequacy in the clutch. So do these figures: Fred Lynn hit .208 in April and was 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Another former Angel, Rick Burleson, batted .164. The Orioles left the bases loaded 7 times in 21 games.
The Orioles may be close to releasing or moving veteran left-hander Mike Flanagan to the bullpen. Flanagan is 11-19 with a 4.58 ERA since rupturing his Achilles tendon in January of 1985. He has not pitched a complete game since August of '84.
Left fielder Kal Daniels of the Cincinnati Reds hit seven home runs in April. He hit six all of last year.
With Kirk Gibson sidelined by injury, the Detroit Tigers employed six outfielders who had combined for 23 RBIs through Wednesday. American League RBI leaders Brian Downing and Rob Deer each had 22.
The Houston Astros' Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan and Jim Deshaies combined for 103 strikeouts in April, more than the entire pitching staffs of three teams--the Montreal Expos, who had 100, the Kansas City Royals, 94, and the Chicago White Sox, 92.
The Astros, 12-9 in April, had a strong month considering that Bill Doran hit .200, Glenn Davis had only 3 homers and Bob Knepper, 4-0 in April of '86, lost his berth in the rotation with a 1-2 record and 6.44 ERA.
Chicago Cub shortstop Shawon Dunston had no RBIs and only 2 walks through 71 at-bats.
With Jim Sundberg having been traded to the Cubs and Ed Hearn sidelined by injuries, Kansas City catchers Jamie Quirk and Larry Owen hit a combined .132 in April. In addition, first baseman Steve Balboni was hitless in his last 26 at-bats, which helps explain why the Royals were shut out 6 times in 19 games, a club record for shutouts in a month.
May began no better for the Royals. Cleveland's Phil Niekro and Rich Yett combined on a 2-0 shutout at Kansas City Friday night. Said Royal Manager Billy Gardner: "Niekro may be 48, but we're hitting like we're 65."
Former Angel pitcher Bob Kipper, 1 for 33 with the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, is 4 for 8 with a four-game hitting streak in '87.
The sophomore jinx appears dead in Texas. The Rangers' Pete Incaviglia hit .324 in April with 8 home runs and 19 RBIs. He hit his ninth home run Friday night and his 10th Saturday at Toronto.