The Angels finished off a homestand by beating the Yankees in two of three games, but lost both games against the Orioles in Baltimore to start a road trip. The Halos lost three of five games to drop into second place in the American League West. Here’s a look back at Week 4 of the 1979 Angels.
Nolan Ryan and Ron Guidry put on a show in Wednesday night’s series finale against the Yankees. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out nine, half of his total in his last start against California, last June 17 at Yankee Stadium. Ryan was in control, walking only two and allowing six singles, striking out seven in his second shutout and third complete game of the season, leading the Angels to a 1-0 win. Only one runner reached scoring position against Ryan — Thurman Munson in the sixth inning.
Mark Clear pitched five scoreless innings in his two appearances, including holding the Yankees scoreless for four innings through the 10th on Tuesday in New York. The 22-year-old rookie has a 1.90 ERA in nine appearances, and has yet to allow a home run in 23⅔ innings.
Don Baylor hit the Angels’ only home run of the week, on Tuesday against Luis Tiant, and reached base eight times in five games for a .381 on-base percentage. Baylor also drove in the winning run with a bases loaded single on Monday for a walk-off win over the Yankees.
The three-game series against the Yankees drew 116,686 fans in Anaheim, an average of 38,895 per game, setting an Anaheim Stadium record for a three-game series.
The Angels are second in the majors in runs scored per game (5.48), behind the Royals, and hitting coach Deron Johnson told The Sporting News (May 12, 1979) this offense was comparable to the early 1960s Reds lineup that had Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Vada Pinson, and Pete Rose. But that offense scored two runs or fewer four times in five games last week, and hit .200/.251/.256.
A huge offensive problem came at shortstop, with Rance Mulliniks (18 starts) and Orlando Ramirez (seven starts) combining for just nine hits in 73 at-bats, hitting .123/.188/.164. The Angels traded utility man Dave Chalk to the Rangers to get 37-year-old Bert Campaneris, hoping he would give them something, anything at shortstop.
Rangers general manager Eddie Robinson told The Sporting News (June 2, 1979), “Campy is through. We heard the Angels were talking to other teams, and we were afraid they would get a better shortstop.”
On the mound, Frank Tanana had a disastrous week. He was chased in the first inning on Tuesday against the Yankees, allowing four runs while recording only two outs. On Sunday in Baltimore, Tanana struck out Al Bumbry to start the game but left after just one batter with a pulled groin muscle.
Friday’s series opener in Baltimore was rained out. The game will get made up in July. Perhaps it was best for the Angels to play one fewer game against the Orioles, who are 5-0 against California this year. If the Angels have designs on the postseason, it might behoove them to beat the team that is currently leading the AL East.
Angels manager Jim Fregosi was asked about female reporters, and offered a cringeworthy comment in that or any other era. From Dick Miller in The Sporting News on May 5, 1979:
Women reporters have yet to show up in the Big A clubhouse. “It doesn’t make any difference,” said Angels manager Jim Fregosi. “They won’t ask any dumber questions than the guys do.” Fregosi hasn’t changed his policy on lady reporters. “The good looking ones can come in, the uglies stay out.”
12 runs scored (2.40 per game)
28 runs allowed (5.60 per game)
.175 pythagorean record
148 runs scored (5.48 per game)
118 runs allowed (4.37 per game)
.602 pythagorean record
AL West standing: 2nd place, 2½ games back of Minnesota
- Monday, April 30: Angels 2, Yankees 1
- Tuesday, May 1: Yankees 12, Angels 8 (11)
- Wednesday, May 2: Angels 1, Yankees 0
- Friday: Angels at Orioles, ppd. rain
- Saturday, May 5: Orioles 9, Angels 1
- Sunday, May 6: Orioles 6, Angels 0
The Angels continue their AL East road trip with a full week of four games at Fenway Park followed by a weekend at Yankee Stadium.