The Dodgers had easily their worst week of the season last week, and the team lost more than just games. The team's best hitter, Pedro Guerrero, lost his mind against David Cone and the Mets, and the club lost its light-hitting but slick fielding shortstop, Alfredo Griffin, for at least a month with a broken hand.
Griffin was hit by a Dwight Gooden fastball in the fifth inning on Saturday in a 4-0 loss to the Mets. Gooden was in the midst of a four-hit shutout of the Dodgers, and continued his stellar start to 1988. Gooden is 8-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his first 10 starts, all Mets wins, and thus far in his career the 23-year old is 81-26 with a 2.49 ERA.
The loss to Gooden was part of a weekend sweep by the Mets at Dodger Stadium that saw New York outscore the Dodgers 14-4 in three games. Frustration of a 1-5 week and a 3-8 stretch boiled over on Sunday in the sixth inning. After throwing high and inside to Guerrero with his first pitch, Cone hit him with a curve ball on the second pitch, which enraged Guerrero.
Guerrero threw his bat at Cone, who was stepping off the mound, then charged at the pitcher. Benches cleared and Guerrero was ejected. Sam McManis of the Los Angeles Times recounted the actions of Guerrero, who is sure to be suspended by MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti.
Guerrero, whose bravado has been likened to a matador, was charging like an enraged bull at Cone, who did a steady retreat before reinforcements could intervene. One Dodger restraining Guerrero was Kirk Gibson, who had struck out moments before.
"I wanted to make sure (Guerrero) didn't do anything stupid and get suspended, if he isn't already," Gibson said.
Guerrero is hitting .326/.401/.437 with three home runs, and is tied with Mike Marshall for the team lead with 26 runs batted in. Guerrero's on-base percentage had dipped below .400, to .397, for the first time since Apr. 24 before getting hit by Cone.
But perhaps even more disconcerting was the performance of Fernando Valenzuela, who had his worst start of the season on Sunday against the Mets. Valenzuela allowed five runs on six hits and two walks, and recorded just four outs. Valenzuela has allowed 11 runs over his last two starts, and on the season is 3-5 with a 3.90 ERA, with 36 walks and just 31 strikeouts in 62⅓ innings.
Valenzuela, the highest-paid starting pitcher in the game at $2.05 million this year, has averaged 35 starts, 266 innings, 211 strikeouts, 16 wins, and a 3.16 ERA over the previous six years. But now the condition of his arm is in question, and a sore subject perhaps both figuratively and literally.
"Am I satisfied he's healthy?" Lasorda told reporters. "You'll have to ask him."
The Dodgers, who began the week in first place, 2½ games ahead of the Astros in the National League West, end the week 1½ games back of Houston, who won five of their six contests last week.
Dodger Batter of the Week: In his first full week back since his oblique injury, John Shelby paced an otherwise unproductive Dodgers offense by hitting .476 (10-for-21) and drove in three runs.
Dodger Pitcher of the Week: For winning the only game for the Dodgers last week, Tim Leary takes home the honors with his Thursday shutout of the Expos. It was the first win since Apr. 18 for Leary, who lowered his ERA to 2.90 on the season with his third victory.
Week 7 Record: 1-5
11 runs scored (2.17 per game)
23 runs allowed (3.83 per game)
.206 pythagorean winning percentage
Seasonal Record: 22-17
171 runs scored (4.38 per game)
133 runs allowed (3.41 per game)
.613 pythagorean winning percentage (24-15)
Quote of the year candidate: Vice President George Bush visited Dodger Stadium on Tuesday and was given a tour of the clubhouse by manager Tommy Lasorda. Of the cadre of agents surround Bush, second baseman Steve Sax quipped to reporters, "That Secret Service doesn't look so secret. They look obvious to me."
Landreaux says hello: Outfielder Ken Landreaux, the starter for the Dodgers on their 1981 World Series winning team as well as a a pair of division-winning teams in 1983 and 1985, was at Dodger Stadium to visit Lasorda on Wednesday. Landreaux, 32, hit .203 in 115 games as mostly a part-time player for the Dodgers last season and is now a free agent. Landreaux, who has in his career been in trades involving Mickey Hatcher and Brad Havens, told Sam McManis of the L.A. Times that he has contacted several clubs to offer his services, including the Angels.
- Sunday: activated pitcher Ken Howell from the disabled list, then optioned him to Triple A Albuquerque. Howell, who had offseason shoulder surgery, made three starts for the Dukes during his rehabilitation assignment, and was not happy with his demotion. "What do I have to do to show them I'm ready? What are they looking for from me? What I don't understand is the signs of when they think I'll be ready," Howell told the Times. Do I have to go 10-0 down there?"
- Sunday: placed Alfredo Griffin on the disabled list with a broken hand; recalled infielder Mike Sharperson from Triple A Albuquerque. The Dodgers might have recalled Mariano Duncan instead, but he has missed three games recently with a hamstring injury. "I think the only reason they didn't bring me up is because I'm injured," Duncan told the Times.
- Tuesday, May 17: Expos 6, Dodgers 5
- Wednesday, May 18: Expos 3, Dodgers 0
- Thursday, May 19: Dodgers 2, Expos 0
- Friday, May 20: Mets 5, Dodgers 2
- Saturday, May 21: Mets 4, Dodgers 0
- Sunday, May 22: Mets 5, Dodgers 2
Upcoming Week: The Dodgers run the Del Unser Gauntlet, opening a nine-game road trip with series in Philadelphia and Montreal.
Previous 1988 weeks in review: Apr 4-10 | Apr 11-17 | Apr 18-24 | Apr 25-May 1 | May 2-8 | May 9-15
Week 7 Stats