--The Angels: A year ago, in helping pitch their team to a title in the American League West, Kirk McCaskill, Don Sutton and John Candelaria had a combined 42-23 record. Now, because of injury, illness and ineptitude, they are 21-23.
--Nolan Ryan: The Houston Astros' remarkable right-hander has struck out 61 batters in 33 innings against the San Francisco Giants this year. He fanned 10 or more in each of his five starts, highlighted by his 16 strikeouts Wednesday night.
"I don't understand the guy," San Francisco catcher Bob Brenly said. "He's a .500 pitcher for his career, he's 7-14 (this year), but every game he pitches against us is a masterpiece. It's as if he's telepathic. He knows what we're looking for and throws the opposite. I hope the . . . retires."
--Montreal Expos: They are 20-3 in games started by reclamation projects Dennis Martinez and Pascual Perez.
--Pennant Fever? There are 14 Bay Area writers and two TV crews accompanying the Giants on their trip to Houston and Cincinnati. But on the East Bay, only 12,287 attended Oakland's Tuesday night game against Texas, only 10,143--the A's smallest crowd of the season--attended Wednesday's day game against the Rangers and only 12,361 were at Thursday's day game against Kansas City.
--RBI Meter: Minnesota third baseman Gary Gaetti, with 99 runs batted in, will be the first Twin to drive in 100 or more runs in consecutive seasons since Harmon Killebrew in 1970 and '71, and left fielder Jose Canseco, also at 99, will be the first Oakland player ever to do it.
--Baltimore Orioles: The Birds could play a spoiler role with 16 more games against Detroit, Toronto and New York, but they are 2-7 against the Tigers and 1-6 against both the Blue Jays and Yankees. They were also 0-9 against Boston and 6-39 against the East, excluding Cleveland.
--Atlanta Braves: They had drawn a total of 35,805 for their last six home dates before 25,342 showed up for the first two games of this weekend's series against the Dodgers. They have drawn only five crowds of more than 10,000 during their last 41 September home dates. Anyone for football?