If nothing else, Chicago showed versatility. Three outfield errors led to one loss, poor pitching to another and overall ineptitude to a third. One man felt he could relax the Cubs by turning a hose on them, alternately dousing the players with hot and cold water. Water was not the answer in Houston, where Colt .45 pitchers were subjected to an abundance of it with frequent and early trips to the showers. Opposing players hit .283 and scored 45 runs. Even so, Dick Farrell, a reliever for six years, managed to pitch two complete-game wins over the Braves and Giants. After winning in relief, Bobby Tiefenauer, who throws little besides a knuckle ball, was kidded about his nonexistent fast ball. "Hal Smith can catch me with a Kleenex," replied the overjoyed Tiefenauer as he celebrated his first win since 1955. Craig Anderson of New York won twice in one day and three times in all last week as the Mets won four of five with a combination of clutch hitting, good relief pitching and perseverance. Neither perseverance nor fistfuls of players have solved Milwaukee's left-field problem. Mike Krsnich, Tommy Aaron and Howie Bedell last week played left field, where the Braves have tried 27 men in 10 years, and came up with a combined .107 BA, two runs scored and no RBIs. Eddie Mathews was out with a wrenched shoulder, and his rookie replacements, Denis Menke and Amado Samuel, drove in one run and batted .125. Pittsburgh, too, had trouble scoring. Since winning their first 10 games, the Pirates have averaged just 2.5 runs a game in 17 contests, 13 of them losses. St. Louis had a more serious problem: the loss of Minnie Minoso, who again crashed into the Busch Stadium concrete wall, this time suffering a severe skull fracture and broken wrist. He will be out for at least six weeks, maybe for the year. San Francisco batters licked their own aversion to walls simply by hitting balls over them. They hit seven homers, and Billy O'Dell and Juan Marichal each pitched a shutout and had two wins. Philadelphia's Roy Sievers, who last year at this time had five home runs, had yet to hit his first. Sievers, batting .121, got an abundance of advice from fans, players and waiters. "Maybe I should change my name, or grow a beard," Sievers said. But the rest of the Phillies, many of whom could have grown a beard between base hits last season, hit .301. Ted Savage batted .429, Don Demeter .450 and each had seven RBIs. Los Angeles batters did even better (.314), but had a dearth of extra-base hits (only 14 among 74). The Dodgers, however, made eight errors, which allowed seven unearned runs that led to their only two losses in six games. No one was more upset than Maury Wills, who had made seven errors in the first 31 games and was hitting .226. "I've been so bad I thought of quitting," Wills said. "But I believe the Lord is testing me." On the bases it was Wills who was testing catchers' arms. He stole six bases, giving him a total of 16 and a fine start on the NL record of 80. Willie Davis also put on some dazzling footwork, scoring from second on a bunt. Cincinnati, which had a hard time scoring anyone from second during its first 18 games, averaged 5.1 runs in winning eight of its last 10 contests. This helped move the Reds up to fourth place.
Joe Horlen, rookie Chicago pitcher, used to nail his mother's quilts to the side of the garage and throw baseballs against them. "It kept the balls from getting nicked up," Horlen later explained. Last week he was throwing against the Red Sox and Angels, nicking them both up, and keeping the White Sox in fifth place. New York Manager Ralph Houk had sad news for the rest of the league: "This may be the best team we've had since I joined the organization in 1947." (Still, the Yankees had to come from behind to beat West Point 6-4 in an exhibition game.) Seventh-place Detroit could not keep up the pace in the exhibition league either, losing to Denver 6-4. Rocky Colavito stood literally and figuratively fiat-footed last week. Off the field he wore his expensive handmade shoes with arch supports for his flat feet. On the field he was batting .191 and was still without his first homer. Norm Cash, though, hit his eighth. It cleared the 94-foot roof in right center at Briggs Stadium and was one of the longest homers ever hit there. Baltimore's Brooks Robinson tied a record by hitting grand-slam home runs in two consecutive games. Poor hitting (the Orioles' .222 BA for the year was 12 points lower than any other in the majors) and erratic pitching (seven runs in three wins, 27 in two defeats) kept the team in sixth place. Timely hits by Zoilo Versa lies and good relief work by Ray Moore and Jim Kaat enabled Minnesota to split six games and stay in third place. Cleveland stayed a game ahead of Minnesota, mainly because of two wins by Jim (Mudcat) Grant, who was on leave from the Army. Jerry Kindall played such an expert and flashy second base (and also batted .391 for the week) that he was being likened to Nap Lajoie. No one compared the Kansas City Athletics to the greats of the past. They turned what should have been a sacrifice fly into a double play; Jerry Lumpe loped in from third after a long fly, but his run did not count. Manny Jimenez had been doubled up going from first to second, and that third out was made before Lumpe crossed the plate. Billy Consolo had difficulty getting around, too, though not on the bases. He was sold last week by the Phillies to the Los Angeles Angels and on his first trip to Chavez Ravine he got lost in the traffic. Lee Thomas hit .471 to help the Angels hold fourth place. Washington won three times, but the weight of past defeats kept the Senators in the cellar. Dave Stenhouse won twice and Gene Woodling batted .500 and hit four home runs. Washington even scored 11 runs in one inning, its biggest spree in 36 years. Two victories by Gene Conley were all the Boston Red Sox cared to discuss. They could not talk about their home runs: they hit none. They could talk about their eight doubles, but, then, that brought to mind the fact that they had nothing else but singles and a .225 BA last week.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, May 12