Freddie’s Not Dead, but He’s Killing Me

PREVIOUSLY, IN FUNKYBALL: Patriot Act Inc.’s new plan to keep the entire gang together for the rest of the season is nearly ruined when Crazy Amy makes an empathetic detour to Graceland. Now, with Amy back on the bus and content to lie low, things are “normal” again as Seamus zaps them to wherever the pennant race action is hottest. But as Seamus outlined a month ago, and with just five weeks left in the season,”Time Segment Evaporations” will begin as teams start getting eliminated. And Lester, rooting for five of the 16 teams, is the most nervous about it…

NEW YORK—It isn’t easy to get through a day when your very existence depends on the skills of Jim Colborn and Freddie Patek. The Yanks are 11-6 against my Royals so far, and with the whacking the Bombers just gave the Bosox in Boston, I know it’s going to be tough for us in the Bronx, but come on boys! You and the Cards are the only teams I have with a spitter’s chance in this thing!

It looks rosy at first, because Stanley boots a ball in the 2nd and Mayberry puts a Catfish gopher ball in the upper deck for a 2-0 lead. Just as I figure, the Yankees struggle with the bats one game after racking up 32 hits, though Paul Blair, playing center for Rivers, robs Otis and Porter of homers in the first four innings.  When Nettles finally touches Colborn for a 2-run shot of his own in the 4th, the game is tied.

Then Little Freddie Patek goes to work. (I realize it must have been a burden for him to be called “Little Freddie Patek” his entire career, but that’s the way the peanut brittles; the guy was 5-foot-4.) He doubled after Mayberry’s homer earlier, and this time pops one down the left field line that lands in the stands over Roy White’s glove! 3-2 K.C.!

The Yanks then do what they usually do best: blow scoring chances. Leadoff singles by White and Stanley in the 5th and 6th go for naught. Colborn kicks away a grounder right back to him in the 7th, Rivers slaps a double, but Piniella and Zeber can’t get the run in.

Meanwhile DPs off the bats of Mayberry and McRae kill two Royals chances in the 7th and 8th, and it’s still 3-2 us going to the bottom half. Stanley leads with another single, his third of the game. Reggie works a walk. Munson bounces a silver platter DP grounder to Little Freddie—

—and it bounces off his chin for an error. Bases loaded, nobody out.  This isn’t shocking, because Freddie has had X-chart disease all season, but Colborn is ready to kill the mighty mite, and me to stuff him in a potato sack. Lefty Mingori comes on to face Nettles, who walks in the tying run. Lefty-murderer Cliff Johnson strolls up to hit for Chambliss. Here comes Littell to face him. Here comes Alston to hit for Johnson. And he walks in the go-ahead run. Littell bears down to get White, Rivers and Piniella, but Sparky’s on, this one’s history, and as the Royals drop below the Rangers for the first time all year, another piece of me begins to ache.

K.C. 020 010 000 – 3 6 2
NYY 000 200 02x – 4 7 2

W-Hunter L-Colborn SV-Lyle HRS: Mayberry, Patek, Nettles GWRBI-Alston

The Buzz Line

TWINS 4-11-1, at RED SOX 2-8-0
Not that I’m doing any better than Lester. Against the win-challenged Pete Redfern, Evans manages a solo blast but the Sox leave scads of runners on base. By all rights the Twins should have won this thing by five runs but miss pretty easy HR dice rolls of 1-15 (Bostock), 1-14 (Carew) and 1-13 (Borgmann) in the same 3rd inning. Even when Boston loses they still get ridiculous luck.

RANGERS 6-8-1, at ORIOLES 3-11-1
Now 12-5 in the month of August and 29-17 since the end of June, the Rangers sneak over the Royals and are just a half game behind the Red Sox. Gaylord Perry is knocked all over Memorial Stadium early but settles down to go to 17-5, while his mates tie it off Flanagan in the 7th and win it in the 9th off Dennis Martinez when Elliott Maddox drops a Claudell Washington fly with the bases loaded. Ouch. The Birds leaving 13 runners in the trees sure doesn’t help.

at INDIANS 7-17-3, WHITE SOX 6-10-2
A fabulously sloppy and entertaining game. It’s a back-and-forth battle for six innings until Chet Lemon clubs a 3-run shot off Garland in the 7th. The daily Alan Bannister error gives the Tribe a run back to cut it to 5-4. A Soderholm triple and Bannister sac fly makes it 6-4. A Carty homer and Fosse single in the 9th brings in LaGrow for Barrios, who promptly gives up singles to Blanks, Norris and Bochte to lose it.

CARDS 13-16-1, at PHILLIES 2-6-2
The St. Louis domination of Philly continues, as the Cards improve to 14-5 against the front-runners. This is ugly before the top of the 2nd is over, as Kaat gets decimated for seven hits and seven runs before Danny Ozark puts him out of his and our misery. Three unearned runs following a Hebner error makes it 1-0 in the 3rd, and Rasmussen cruises from there.

ASTROS 9-10-0, at PIRATES 1-6-1
Not to be outdone in the Pennsylvania tragedy department, the Bucs fall meekly to J. R. Richard, as Reuss can’t get out of the 3rd inning. With Ott and Stargell sidelined, Dyer and Moreno have to play, making J.R.’s task even easier. For Houston, they’re suddenly showing some life on the road, and That Man Watson does it again, smashing a 1st inning scoring double for his 19th game-deciding RBI of the year.

at REDS 2-8-1, DODGERS 1-7-0
Great time for L.A. to pick up some lost ground, right? Not. Clueless against the mesmerizing Doug Capilla, they waste a decent Tommy John start, finally tie the game 1-1 in the 8th and lose in the last of the 8th on amazingly, Concepcion’s first game-winner of the season, a line single following two Charlie Hough knuckle-walks.

CUBS 8-12-0, at EXPOS 2-5-0
Obviously stoked by his modern-day Giants winning the Series, Mike Krukow throws 3-hit ball for six innings, and Sutter and Paul Reuschel mop up after the Cubbies go batty on Steve Rogers with six runs in the 8th, including Greg Gross’ second tater of the game.

American League through Tuesday, August 19

Boston 66 53 .554
Texas 67 55 .549 0.5
Kansas City 67 56 .545 1
New York 65 55 .542 1.5
Baltimore 62 60 .508 5.5
Cleveland 55 68 .447 13
Chicago 52 69 .430 15
Minnesota 51 69 .425 15.5

National League through Tuesday, August 19

Philadelphia 69 50 .580
Pittsburgh 70 52 .574 0.5
Los Angeles 65 54 .546 4
Cincinnati 66 55 .545 4
St. Louis 64 57 .529 6
Houston 54 68 .443 16.5
Montreal 50 70 .417 19.5
Chicago 44 76 .367 25.5

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