New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 8, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
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Tuesday, October 8,1985 Page 6AStrategy-filled playoffs open tonight
KC lefties face Jays
Valezuela draws start
TORONTO (AP) Can the Toronto Blue Jays find a way to solve those pesky Kansas City lefties that have plagued them all season?
That answer, and the key to the American league playoffs, could come tonight when the teams meet in Clame I.
Royals Manager Dick Dowser plans a parade of three left-handers in the first four games of the best-of-seven matchup.
“I had to choose from five starters, and hated to have to do it,” Dowser said. “The left-handed thing wasn’t the only reason we did what we did.”
But, look at what Dowser’s left-handers did against Toronto in 1985.
Charlie Leibrandt, who will start tile opener, was 2-0 and had a 1.72 earned run average against Toronto.
Bud Black, who will start Clame 2 Wednesday, was 10-15 overall but 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA against the Blue Jays.
Danny Jackson, 1-0 with a 1.99 ERA in three starts, will pitch the fourth game.
Dowser will have Bret Saberhagen, 20-6, pitch the third game and will use Mark Gubicza, 14-10, in long relief.
“We’ll do OK,” countered Jesse Barfield, who hit 27 home runs for Toronto. “We’ve
done some things to improve in that area. I don’t want to give away what we’ve done.”
The Blue Jays won 99 games in taking their first-ever AL East chainponship, but were just 24-20 against left-handers.
Runs may be hard to come by in this series. Toronto led the league in team pitching and the Royals were second, and most of the games between the teams this year were low-scoring. Kansas C'ity won the series 7-5.
Dave Stieb, who led the league with a 2.48 ERA but finished with just a 14-13 record, will start tonight for the Blue Jays, leibrandt, 17-9, was second iii the AL with a
“The runs haven’t coincided with my games,” Stieb said. “We’ve had that happen to a pitcher every year. It happened to me this year. I started off the season giving up two runs a game and getting no-decisions. Then, I’d pitch a shutout and win 8-0.”
Stieb will face a Kansas City lineup led by an even hotter than usual George Brett.
Brett, after slumping for the first part of September, hit five key home runs in the last week of the season to help the Royals overtake California in the AL West.The playoffs
By The Associated Press League Championship Series All Times CDT Today s Game
Kansas City (Leibrandt 17 9l at Toronto (Stieb 14 131, 7:30 pm
Kansas City (Black 10 15i at Toronto (Key (4 6l, 2:0b p.m.
St Louis (Tudor 21 8) at Los Angeles (Valenzuela 17 IO), 7 30 p rn Thursday s Game St Louis (Andujar 21 11) at Los Angeles (Hershiser 19 3), 7 35 p rn Friday s Game
Toronto (Alexander 17 10) at Kansas City (Saberhagen 20 6), 7:15 p m Saturday's Games Los Angeles (Welch 134) at St Louis (Cox 18 9), 12 05 p m.
Toronto at Kansas City, 7 15 p rn Sunday s Games
Toronto at Kansas City, 3 35 p rn if necessary Los Angeles at St Louis, 7 15pm Monday’s Game Los Angeles at St. Louis, 2 05 p rn , if necessary Tuesday, Oct 15 Kansas City at Toronto, 7 15 p rn , if necessary Wednesday. Oct 16 St Louis at Los Angeles, 2 05 p rn , if necessary Kansas City at Toronto. 7:15 p rn . if necessary Thursday, Oct 17
St Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles, 7:35 p.m., if necessary
World Series begins Saturday. Oct 19 in American League park
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Experience guided Ix)s Angeles Dodger Manager Tommy I^asorda to his decision to tab lefthander Fernando Valenzuela to start in the opening game of the National league playoffs.
“It’s not a tough decision,” I^asorda said. ‘‘I want to pitch Fernando first. When the playoffs start, forget about all the records and stats. He’s been through this before.”
Valenzuela, a 17-game winner this season, will be matched against St. liOuis Cardinals’ left-hander John Tudor, 21-8, in Wednesday night’s opener.
Valenzuela, 24, has a 2-1 record and a 1.96 ERA in three Championship Series starts, two in 1981 against the Montreal Expos arid the other against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983.
While Cardinals Manager Whitey Derzog contemplated loading up for Valenzuela, 17-10, by starting a lineup of right-handed hitters, I^isorda predicted the best-of-seven matchup with St. Ixiuis will be “a very, very exciting playoff.”
“The Cardinals are the best in the league in hitting and in defense,” he added. “And they have two 21-game winners. St. tauis is a very, very good team.”
The series figures to match up contrasting styles of winning baseball.
“They have the speed and we have the power," said Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall, whose 28 homers ranked second behind Pedro Guerrero’s club-leading 33.
The Cardinals will be led by the National league’s leading hitter, Willie McGee, who batted .353. Their primary weapon will be their team speed.
Uh! by rookie speedster Vince Coleman, who swiped HO bases to set a rookie record this year, the Cardinals figure to force the action with aggressive baserunning.
Speed being what it is to the Cardinals, Derzog surprised Monday when he said he was pondering the idea of keeping some of it in reserve in the series opener. De said he there is a possibility that right-handed hitting Tito tandruni could Ik* used in place of Coleman.
Coleman, a switch hitter, has had more success batting from tile left side. I Landrum ' batted .280 as a part-timer for the Cards this season and is best remembered for the home run that won the pennant for Baltimore in the fourth game of the 1983 playoffs.
Asked about the switch, Derzog said, “I don’t know yet, I’ve got to weigh that one.”
Comal County Players of the Week
Sierra, Wunderlich top week's list
New Braunfels quarterback Victor Sierra was like a passing machine Friday night against Clemens.
The senior completed 15 of 20 attempts for 252 yards and had touchdown passes of 17, 47 and 24 yards as the Unicorns wound up non-district play at 5-0.
For his peformance, Sierra is the Comal County Offensive Player of the Week.
On the season, Sierra has completed 39 of 68 attempts — 57 percent — and thrown for 628 yards. In addition, he’s kicked, returned kicks and played safety at one time or another this season.
On defense, Smithson Valley’s defensive tackle Diron Wunderlich had his best game overall in the Rangers’ 20-12 victory over Holy Cross.
The senior was in on a team season-high 17 tackles, recovered two fumbles and made the key sack in Smithson Valley’s fourth-quarter goal-line stand.
The Knights had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, facing a second-and-goal from
the Ranger 5. Wunderlich burst through the line and creamed Jacob Paniagua right after the back received a pitchout, throwing him back to the 15-yard line.
For his performance, Wunderlich is the Comal County Defensive Player of the Week.
Earning honorable mention on offense is Smithson Valley guard Bobby Mockert and fullback Chris Gentry.
Mockert graded the highest he has ever graded on the line, and paved the way for most of Gentry’s game-high 106 yards rushing.
“Anytime you have a back who gained that many yards, you have to have someone there making the holes for him,” said Ranger Coach Stan Irvine. “Chris had ome of his best games rushing. He was dragging people all over the place.”
Canyon Coach Troy Burch had no nominations on offense.
Earning honorable mention on defense was Canyon safety Albert Natal.
“Thank goodness he was back there,” Burch said of the senior. “He played pretty well back there.”
Burch said Natal made a number of touchdown-saving tackles, helping keep Alamo Heights out of the Canyon end zone until late in the third quarter.
Also earning honorable mention was New Braunfels inside linebacker Brett Stahl, who had his best game of the season, Coach Jim Streety said.
Nose guard Keith Cook, who is the team leader in tackles, and cornerback Claude Porterie also earned honorable mention.
“Keith is having a phenomenal year,” Streety said. “He’s our leading tackler as a defensive lineman.
“He’s so quick, and that’s the key to it all.”
Another honorable mention on defense is Smithson Valley’s Shawn Baboos. The middle linebacker was in on 15 tackles. Coach Irvine said Babnos has shown a lot of improvement in recent games.Shown the doorAstros fire nice-guy manager Lillis
HOUSTON (AP) When tile Houston Astros tried to reassign tonner coach Don Leppert earlier this season, he balked and called the Astros “too nice,” a team more interested iii decorum than winning.
New Astros General Manager Dick Wagner must agree.
Wagner, in the midst of a housecleaning, swept aside the No. I nice guy Monday by firing Manager Bob Ulits and offering hun a front office job.
On a team filled with nice guys, I allis may have been too nice for his own good.
“You can’t blame a guy if he can’t change his personality,” Astros outfielder Kevin Bass said. “When Flea (Lillis) went out to argue with an umpire, it was from the heart. But to be a manager, you’ve got to have a little Billy Martin in you to get the respect of tile umpires.”
Wagner said tile change was a necessity.
“I don’t want to be* critical of Bob, but tile fact that Houston played at tile 500 level over three years was a big part of it,” said Wagner, who took over Sept. 14 as general manager. “We’ve got to look for a team that is more aggressive on tile field.”
The Astros have often been criticized as a team too passive to get tough in crucial situations. Leppert, in ius
departing blast, said the Astros were more interested in looking good in a hotel lobby than playing tough baseball.
“I wouldn’t say the makeup of this team is timid or mild. We’ve just got a lot of nice people here,” catcher Alan Ashby said. “Sometimes it’s necessary to have someone light a fire under all of these nice people and get them to bi* a little more aggressive and mean.”
Wagner offered Lillis a job as head of baseball operations, which he described as "a behind-the-scenes job, one of substance and importance to the Astros.”
De gave Lillis a week to consider the offer while rumors started about I Jills* replacement.
Chuck Tanner, fired as Pittsburgh manager Monday, reportedly is among those being considered for the job.
I allis, 55, took charge of the Astros Aug. IO, 1982 when Astros owner John McMullen fired Bill Virdon. Lillis led the Astros to a 28-23 record the rest of the season.
Houston finished tlurd with an 85-77 record in 1983, second at 80-82 last season and tied for third this season with an 83-79 record.
Lillis has been with the Astros organization since its inception. De was chosen in the 1961 expansion draft and played six seasons for the Astros.
Tanner confident about finding job
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chuck Tanner, saying he loesn’t expect to be out of work for long, planned to talk o as many as six major-league teams today about a nanager’s job following his firing by the Pittsburgh Ji rates.
The always-optimistic Tanner, regarded by many >aseball executives as one of the game’s top field nanagers, was ousted Monday night as part of a “clean (weep” instigated by the Pirates’ new ownership group, leaded by incoming president Malcolm “Mac” Pnne.
Tanner made it clear at a hastily called news con* erence that he was fired not by current Pirates Resident Dan Galbreath, but by the public-private oalition that has agreed to buy the financially ailing earn for $22 million.
"We all kind of agreed together. They didn’t want me md I didn't want them,” Tanner said. “It was a mutual tarting of the ways. But I have no bitterness.. .I’m going in to bigger and better things. I take that flack; nothing ould be better than winning that 1979 world cham-lionship.”
In Tanner’s nine years as manager, the Pirates ran the ;auntlet from World Series winners six years ago to this
season’s 57-104 record, the worst among the 26 major-
Despite his team’s fall from contender to hapless loser, and a federal drug investigation that centered around the Pirates’ clubhouse, Tanner expects to be able to pick and choose among offers from teams in both leagues.
“I’m not a last-place manager, I’m a winner,” Tanner said. “I want to go with a club that wants to do well. I want to manage another IO or 15 years. . .I have a lot of goals I want to reach. I want to manage another world champion.”
Galbreath said he already has been approached by four teams interested in talking to Tanner.
“Now, they know that I’m available,” Tanner said. “I’ll be somewhere and it’s going to be good.”
Galbreath said the decision was made after a series of meetings among Prine, Galbreath and interim general manager Joe L. Brown.
“With the turmoil we’ve had in Pittsburgh, the lack of fan support. . and the (federal) drug investigation, we decided that a change had to be made,” Galbreath said. “If there has to be a scapegoat, let it be me.. .I know a lot of people in Pittsburgh are going to be unhappy.”
Football NotebookUnicorn notes
Quarterback Victor Sierra's first interception of the season didn't have anyone terribly upset on the New Braunfels sideline. The pass came on a third and long play. "They intercepted it 40 yards downheld," Coach Jim Streety said. "It was like a punt. In fact, it was a little longer than we've been punting this year.". . Lineman Mike Sullivan gave everybody a scare when Ire went down with a sprained knee on the first play from scrimmage Friday. Trainer Dean Laird put Sullivan's knee on ice immediately, and the big senior could have played the second half, Streety said "There wasn't any need to (put him in)," the coach noted "He was back running yesterday (Monday).". . New Braunfels is one of seven teams in Region IV still undefeated. At 5 0 are Laredo United, Southwest and Uvalde; at 4 0 are Flour Bluff, Brownsville Pace and Raymondville Defending regional champ Gregory-Portland is 3 2. . .Two of the biggest surprises for the Unicorns this season are cornerback Claude Porterie and defensive lineman Keith Cook Porterie, who didn't play football last season, is im proving every week, while Cook leads the team in tackles with 50. "As the man says, it ain't supposed to be that way," Streety said of Cook's tackle total. It's rare when an interior lineman leads the team in tackles, especially in a three-man front. "He's just so quick," Streety said of Cook, a 6 0, 197-pound senior.
tackling quickly because Floresville has got the running backs, he said Ranger fullback Chris Gentry gained more than 100 yards for the first time against the Knights "When Chris gets hit, two or three people will have him for two or three yards, but he ll drag thenm for four more." Irvine said The Rangers are still suffering the (for them) usual assortment of bumps and bruises Tailback Scott Balmos added a bruise to the knee to his worries against Holy Cross while quarterback Mike Irvine is still playing with a heavily bandaged arm Gentry wears a flak jacket during games Floresville enters play this week tied with Southside for the best records in the district at 4 1.Cougar notesRanger notes
One area Smithson Valley is sure to be working on this week in preparation for Friday's district opener against Floresville is tackling. The Rangers had a hard time knocking down Holy Cross tailback Vince Mosqueda. "They weren't faking us or doing anything we weren't ready for. We'd have him in the backfield and he'd still bust loose for a 10 to 12 yard game," said Smithson Valley Coach Stan Irvine "Every team we play from now on will have a runner of that caliber. We better correct the
A highlight of a less than stellar night Friday was the punting of Ben Garcia The left footed senior boomed a 41 yard punt into a stiff north wind and kicked one 53 yards with the wind That averages out to 47 yards a punt. . Canyon's best chance to take control of the game came when the Cougars stopped Alamo Heights in three plays after the second-half kickoff, then took over at their own 45 after a short punt. But after a first down, the Mules stacked up a sweep then sacked quarterback Danny Hernande* for a nine-yard loss. "I felt we should have driven it in," Coach Troy Burch said This week, Canyon will go back to fundamentals - all the way back to blocking and tackling, Butch said Canyon also will have a chance to get over some nagging injuries during the week off. . As far as Butch can tell, a Canyon varsity team has never won a game at Kerrville The Cougars travel to Kerrville for their district opener a week from Friday . "The kids are going to have to make a com mitment to themselves, to the team and to the school, and soon," Burch said "I don’t think we represented our school very well (Friday).". . Canyon has not lost two games in a row since the 1983 season, when the Cougars fell to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg in district play.