* When Detroit Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker went hitless in four at-bats Wednesday, it ended a string of 50 games in which he had reached base by hit, walk or hit-by-pitch. The streak stretched back to May 29.
* The Atlanta Braves closed to within 2 1/2 games of first place in the National League West last week, the closest they have been to the lead as late as August since 1983.
* California Angels catcher Lance Parrish entered last night's game with just 11 hits in his 91 at-bats since July 4. Parrish also was working on a string of 16 games with at least 1 strikeout.
* Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Darryl Strawberry started the season with a 40-game homerless streak, but he has heated up considerably of late. He entered Friday's game with eight home runs in his past 74 at-bats.
* New York Mets pitcher Sid Fernandez has an extensive collection of guitars -- 64, to be exact -- and he plans to use one of them to perform with Don Ho when he returns to his native Hawaii this fall.
* Rafael Palmeiro and Julio Franco rank 1-4 in the American League batting race. Teammates have finished 1-2 only eight times in the past 50 years, most recently when Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield did it with the New York Yankees in 1984.
* The Texas Rangers are in contention in the AL West largely on the strength of their explosive offensive lineup. The Rangers have won just 12 times this year when they have scored 4 runs or fewer.
* The Milwaukee Brewers bullpen entered last night's game with a 7.49 ERA since the All-Star break. "You know," said outfielder Darryl Hamilton, "it seems like the only time we win is when we get a complete game."