"I think that's everybody's fear -- to be an alcoholic reliving your glory days and running a bar," Zeile said. "But, hey, we can all respect the pride he takes in his hair."
The Tigers continue to hammer out win after win with their intimidating offensive attack, but the real difference in the club // from last year to this year is on the mound. Through their first 38 games, the Tigers had a 24-14 record and a 3.99 team ERA, compared with a 17-21 record and a 4.79 ERA last year.
"The difference is pitching," manager Sparky Anderson said. "Pitching dominates. You can hit all you want, but it you don't pitch, you don't win."
Orioles manager Johnny Oates has reached the point where he could turn that quote entirely around. The Orioles entered the weekend on a 13-game pitching roll in which they led the major leagues in ERA and won just six games.
Farewell to arms
The Minnesota Twins don't have to look any farther than their pitching staff to find the reason for their seventh-place standing. They gave up 11 runs three times in a four-game stretch last week and allowed the opposition to score in double figures 10 times in their first 38 games (26 percent). Last year, the Twins staff allowed 10 or more runs in a game seven times in 162 games.
The pitching crisis is team-wide, but a lot of the attention from it has focused on staff aces Scott Erickson and Kevin Tapani, both of whom have been awful in the early going. Erickson has a 2-5 record and a 6.59 ERA. Tapani is 2-4 with a 6.11 ERA.
We are family
Pitcher Terry Mulholland responding to a question on the family atmosphere that has begun to develop in the Phillies clubhouse:
"It's like a family," he said, "but I wouldn't quite call it the average suburban family with a white picket fence."
Home is where heartbreak is
Remember when the Twins had the most lopsided home-field advantage in the majors? Well, it apparently had more to do with the team than its inflatable stadium.
The Twins have not had a losing record at the Metrodome since 1983, but currently have a four-game losing streak there and an 8-12 record.
A tale of two trades
While the Orioles continue to feel the negative after-effects of the deal that cost them Pete Harnisch, Steve Finley and Curt Schilling two years ago, the Yankees are celebrating the 1992 deal that netted them pitchers Melido Perez, Bob Wickman and Domingo Jean in exchange for second baseman Steve Sax. Perez won 13 games last year and ranked among the league leaders with a 2.87 ERA. Wickman is 10-1 since coming up late last season. And Jean is considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the minor-league system.
Headline of the week
Headline in the Philadelphia Daily News after the Florida Marlins left 17 runners on base in a 10-3 loss to the Phillies:
What Baltimore player holds the major-league record for highest single-season batting average by a shortstop?
Inquiring minds want to know
Cubs first baseman Mark Grace has been linked romantically with "Northern Exposure" star Janine Turner, and his soon-to-be ex-wife Michelle has been seen around Hollywood with actor Ray Liotta, but Grace apparently has not allowed life in the tabloid lane to affect his performance on the field.
Through last night, Grace was batting .342 and had hit safely in 18 of his past 20 games, all at a time when he's going through a contentious and expensive divorce. "Does it look like it's bothering me?" Grace said. "I just play and have fun out there."
Getting some respect
The California Angels might look like an early season flash in the pan, but they are not being taken lightly by the first-place Chicago White Sox -- as evidenced by Frank Thomas' response when someone asked if the Angels were developing into a contender.
"The Angels are a contender right now," Thomas said. "They have a bunch of no-name players who play their butts off. Sometimes it's better to have a bunch of no-names than a team full of superstars."
No doubt, there are plenty of Mets fans who would be quick to agree.
If you knew the answer to this one off the top of your head, you've been spending way too much time listening to Phil Wood. The record for highest single-season batting average by a shortstop is held by Hughie Jennings, who hit .401 in 130 games for Baltimore's National League franchise in 1896.
* The A's entered the weekend hitless in their past 21 bases-loaded plate appearances, going 0-for-16 with two walks and three sacrifice flies.
* The Angels apparently have settled on a stopper. Right-hander Joe Grahe had been successful in his last three save opportunities before Friday and had given up just one hit over 6 1/3 innings since May 8.
* The Astros did not have history on their side when they opened a weekend series in San Diego on Friday. They had won 10 of their previous 54 at Jack Murphy Stadium, dating to the beginning of the 1987 season.
* In an eight-game stretch that ended last week, Tigers' Alan Trammell started at shortstop once, third once, center field once and left field three times.
* Entering the weekend, the Minnesota Twins had been outscored 51-8 in the seventh inning.
* In a four-game stretch last week, the Twins bullpen gave up 19 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings (11.15 ERA).
* Oakland outfielder Ruben Sierra is hitting .297 (30-for-101) when Mark McGwire is in the starting lineup and .133 (6-for-45) when he isn't.
* Yankees starting pitchers entered the weekend with a 16-10 record and a 3.38 ERA. The only AL rotation with a better combined ERA is the Boston Red Sox (3.34). Yankees relievers, however, are 7-7 with a 5.89. That ERA ranks last among AL bullpens.