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1979 Angels Week 11: Brian Downing on fire

Downing leads a bulked-up Angels offense

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The 1979 Angels utilized their high-powered offense in the last week 41 years ago, and needed every bit of it to win five of eight games on the road.

The Angels lead the majors in runs scored, a half-run per game better than the next-best team, and they scored at least eight runs in six straight games from Monday to Friday last week. Some suspect pitching prevented an even better week, as the Halos lost games in which they scored 10 and eight runs.

Brian Downing was especially hot, going 16-for-29 (.552) with four doubles and a home run, scoring eight and driving in a whopping 14 runs for the week. Downing was already hitting .330 on the season before last week, but now he’s hitting .359.

Bobby Grich stayed hot with two more home runs and seven RBI, and has a hit in every game so far in June. His hitting streak is 18 games dating back to May 31, during which he is hitting .413 (26-for-63).

Willie Aikens drove in 11 runs and scored 11 times, hitting .321 (9-for-28). Aikens has 44 RBI in 45 games this season.

Don Baylor’s been the Angels’ RBI man all season, leading the majors with 57, though he only drove in one last week. Still, he was 10-for-32 (.313) and scored eight times.

The Angels also got two starts at shortstop out of rookie Dickie Thon, who has 5-for-11 (.455) with four RBI.

Don Aase (Wednesday) and Nolan Ryan (Thursday) pitched complete-game wins, but otherwise the starting pitching was lacking during the week. In eight games, the Angels rotation allowed 33 runs in 55 innings for a 4.75 ERA.

The Angels called up Steve Eddy, their 19th-round draft pick in 1975, to start Wednesday in Toronto after a doubleheader the day before in Cleveland. Eddy got rocked to the tune of eight runs in six innings, but the Angels rallied to tie in a seven-run seventh. The Blue Jays won on a Rick Cerone double in the eighth, one of three losses in eight games for the Angels on the week.

Weekly summary

5-3 record
63 runs scored (7.88 per game)
45 runs allowed (5.63 per game)
.649 pythagorean record

Year-to-date summary

40-27 record
385 runs scored (5.75 per game)
307 runs allowed (4.58 per game)
.602 pythagorean record (40-27)

AL West standing: 1st place, 4½ games up on the Rangers

Game results

Up next

The Angels are back home, facing the Rangers and Royals for seven games.