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1979 Angels Week 24: Starting struggles

A few bad starts led to four losses in five games, 41 years ago last week

Sports Contributor Archive 2020
Angels right-hander Chris Knapp was knocked out of a start in the first inning last week, back in 1979
Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

The 1979 Angels’ march toward their first American League West crown hit a snag last week, dropping four of five games on the road. But they still have a healthy lead with two weeks remaining.

It was a brutal week for Angels starting pitching, particularly in the two-game series against the White Sox at Comiskey Park. On Tuesday, Nolan Ryan retired only one of his six batters faced, leaving after a Jim Morrison home run gave Chicago a 5-0 lead.

The next night, Chris Knapp also couldn’t escape the first inning, allowing six runs and five hits while recording only two outs.

The Angels’ lone win last week, on Friday in Milwaukee, came in a game that saw them blow a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning, only to have Bobby Grich and Rod Carew connect for the deciding run in the top of the ninth.

Ryan was better in his start on Saturday, striking out 10 in a complete game. But he suffered the loss thanks to home runs by Gorman Thomas and Dick Davis in the sixth inning. The 3-2 defeat was one of three one-run losses last week for the Angels.

The one saving grace last week for the Angels was that their closest pursuer, the Royals, lost four of seven games themselves and only gained a game in the standings.

Weekly summary

1-4 record
23 runs scored (4.60 per game)
31 runs allowed (6.20 per game)
.367 pythagorean record

Year-to-date summary

81-68 record
809 runs scored (5.43 per game)
707 runs allowed (4.74 per game)
.561 pythagorean record (84-65)

AL West standing: 1st place, 3 games up on Kansas City
Magic number to clinch division: 11

Game results

Up next

The Angels are up three games on the Royals with 13 to play, and conclude their road trip with four games in Kansas City before returning home to face Texas next weekend. Seven of the Angels’ final 13 games are against the Royals.