With Oriole teammate Steve Stone having such a mavelous season, Scott McGregor and his consistently well-pitched games have been overshadowed.
But McGregor's three-hit 5-0 shutout today over the California Angels stood out as one of the best Baltimore pitching performances all season and cut the New York Yankees lead back to 1 1/2 games as the Yankees lost to Seattle, 1-0.
The quick-working left-hander with the bafflilng curve ball and change up, altered his usual strategy and surprised the unsuspecting Angel hitters by throwing 76 fast balls out of 103 pitches for his 16th win -- McGregor's career high -- against just seven losses.
His seventh win in his last nine outings salvaged a split of the four-game series with the heavy-hitting Angels. McGregor is 6-0 against the Angels over the last two seasons, in those games never allowing them more than one earned run.
"He always throws that way against California," said McGregor's catcher Rick Dempsey, who had a run-batted-in single in the four-run Oriole fourth inning, which featured Ken Singleton's 18th home run.
"Scotty was outstanding, that's about all I can say," continued Dempsey. "He changed speeds excellently -- and the thing was today he did it with fast balls.
"Damn, the guy doesn't throw that hard, but they couldn't touch the ball. Scotty's just a stingy guy."
Most of the California hitters still were shaking their heads and mumbling to themselves about McGregor's performance 15 minutes after the masterpiece in front of 23,000 in Memorial Stadium.
"Excellent -- need I say any more?" said Bert Campaneris.
"Just pick your own superlative," said Rick Miller.
McGregor's biggest asset, according to the Oriole pitching coach, Ray Miller, is that he changes speeds and works quickly.
"He's the kind of guy you like to play behind because he doesn't mess around.
"He throws the ball. Fielders don't have that lull with him out there. You get some guys who have the greatest stuff in the world and they take 25, 30 seconds between pitches and the fielders and hoping they'll throw the ball or get the hell out of the game."
The Baltimore pitcher who adopted the same style in the middle of last season and has been even more succesful with it is Stone (21-5) almost a shoo-in for the league Cy Young Award.
"Scotty has been overshadowed this season by Stone," added Miller. "But Steve adopted that style in the middle of last season and Scotty's been doing it all along. But Scotty's been pushed aside because he's missed the first month or so of the last two seasons with tendinitis in his left elbow.
"Plus that, we had Flanagan start out on fire last year, and now Stone this season."
Now only has McGregor been overshadowed by teammate Stone, but also by Kansas City's George Brett, who is making a solid bid to be baseball's first 400 hitter since Ted Williams.
"If it's not Stone, it's George Brett," said McGregor, smiling. "But I sure don't mind being overshadowed by a .400 hitter and a 21-game winner."
"I playaed baseball with Brett for three years in high school (in El Segundo, Califo.). Everytime somebody sees me pitch they come up and say,' hey, didn't you go to high school with George Brett?"
McGregor gave up a left field double to Bob Clark in the fourth inning with two out (California's first hit) and singles to Ford and Carney Lansford in the eighth and ninth, respectively.
McGregor's reputation for breaking balls being well known, the Angel hitters (who had tattooed Oriole pitching for 17 runs and 25 hits in their two wins) were digging in waiting for the slow stuff.
"I could tell by the way they were standing in the box that they were looking for the breaking pitches," said McGregor, who threw only 14 change ups and 11 curves. "I decided early that I'd have to go with the fast ball." u
McGregor did walk four Angels -- a high number for him. He led the American League in fewest walks per innings pitched ratio last season and is the prototype of a control pitcher.
"It wasn't that I was missing the plate by much," added McGregor. "I just didn't want to give in to the hitters and get behind like we did the last two nights againsts them."
McGregor's counterpart, Chris Knapp (2-11), tried for the 13th time to gain his third win, but lasted only 3 2/3 innings.
But other than Singleton's home run, which almost cleared the left field bleachers, and Dempsey's RBI single, the Baltimore runs were gifts. They scored thhree times on a balk, passed ball and an error.
The strangest of the plays was the balk. John Lowenstein, who had an adventurous day in left field, opened the sixth inning with a double and advanced to third on Ford's second error.
With Dempsey batting, Lowensteing dashed for home and California reliever Dave Lemanczyk interrupted his full windup to throw to the plate. Dempsey bunted the ball to first baseman Rod Carew, but plate umpire Jim Evans signaled the run across with a balk.