For Benes, K's galore, W's elusive


May 02, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

It can't be much fun being Andy Benes right now. The San Diego Padres ace gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings on Friday, but it was only good enough to earn him his fifth loss in six decisions. He leads the National League in strikeouts (42), and he has pitched into the seventh inning in all six starts this year. His 4.35 ERA isn't anything to write home about, but there are guys who are winning with higher ERAs than that. Colorado Rockies starter David Nied, for example, is 3-2 hTC with a 6.48 ERA -- and that includes an 0-2 record and 16.20 ERA at Mile High Stadium. . . . Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Tim Wallach, who had a career year during the 1987 juiced-ball season, also is hitting this year's questionable ball well. He is among the league leaders in home runs (eight) and RBIs (23).

NL Central

While the rest of the baseball world marvels over Joe Carter, his broken thumb and his major-league-record 31 RBIs in April, St. Louis Cardinals fans are more interested in pitching ace Bob Tewksbury. He came out of spring training with a sore arm and has won each of his first six starts. . . . Houston Astros pitcher Pete Harnisch appeared to be shaking The Baltimore Sun Extra Innings jinx, especially when the Astros scored 15 runs for him Saturday to help him even his record at 2-2. But, alas, he had to leave the game with the flu. Harnisch was the first player profiled in The Baltimore Sun's Monday national spotlight. Toronto's Carlos Delgado has not homered since he was featured the next week, and New York Mets second baseman Jeff Kent has gone homer-less since he was profiled last week. No problem with this week's subject, since baseball's middle relief problem couldn't get much worse.

NL East

Kent has not fallen by the wayside. He continues to add to an impressive early-season performance and finished the week batting .359. The Mets also continue to play beyond expectations, though that would not be saying much. No one expected them to do anything, so the fact that they are a game over .500 is truly amazing. . . . Not as amazing, however, as the turnaround that the Montreal Expos have made in the past two weeks. They were left in the dust of Atlanta's big start but have won 10 of their past 11 games to climb back to within one game of the first-place Braves. The Braves have lost eight of their past 10 and are looking very human, but don't be fooled. They won't be playing the Pittsburgh Pirates again for a while, and they have dominated everyone else. . . . The Florida Marlins also finished the week above .500, but no wonder. Gary Sheffield carried them with six home runs and 14 RBIs. The AL Mess turned over in a hurry last week. The bottom two teams at the beginning of the week (Seattle and Texas) were the top two teams at the end of the week. They went a combined 10-2, while the Oakland Athletics and California Angels went a combined 2-11 to take over the bottom half of the standings. . . . Rookie pitcher Brian Anderson had given Angels fans much to cheer about through the early weeks of the season, but everything seems to be turning sour in Anaheim these days. Anderson was 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA going into last night's start against the Boston Red Sox, but gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.

AL Central

No one needed a heavy dose of positive reinforcement more than Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Erickson, who pitched the Metrodome's first no-hitter on Wednesday night. Erickson, who won 20 games in 1991, had lost 12 of his previous 15 decisions, dating back to July of last year. The Twins needed a boost, too, but it didn't do much good. The other four starters in the Minnesota rotation had a combined 7.18 ERA for the week. . . . Cleveland outfielder Manny Ramirez is moving to the front of the American League Rookie of the Year derby. He finished the week hitting .313 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. Delgado has cooled off considerably (.225) and Jeffrey Hammonds is going to have trouble building up run production numbers batting second and ninth. The Boston Red Sox have gotten the jump on the rest of the division, but only because they have been able to dominate the AL West. The Red Sox were a combined 11-2 against West teams. . . . Carter broke a major-league record with 31 RBIs in April after breaking his thumb in March. . . . The New York Yankees signed a deal and could be playing in a new spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., by 1996. The Orioles are still looking. . . . The Orioles are off to a decent start, but they really haven't taken advantage of a long string of games against the struggling AL West. They are 10-8 against a division that does not have a .500 team.

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