Next out, Gene Mauch? "If we had to make a decision today" on whether to retain the manager, boss Buzzie Bavasi of the California Angels said yesterday, "it wouldn't be a good one. By that I mean the atmosphere isn't right.

"Every time we pick up the papers and see it's the Brewers in the World Series and every time we think about the money we're losing by not being there we become more disappointed."

Bavasi said the Angels -- record attendance but mammoth payroll -- lost about $1 million for the 1982 season.

Bavasi talked 90 minutes with Mauch on Wednesday and said Mauch was so disillusioned about losing the AL playoff after winning the first two games he may not want to come back. "We'll talk again in a couple days" . . .

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers are reported on the verge of signing Steve Garvey for four more years, as the first $1-million-a-year Man in Blue, but no fait accompli -- still dickering with agent Jerry Kapstein. Says V.P. Al Campanis: "We are hopeful that Steve will not leave." The club contracted Rick Monday for one more year and has until Nov. 4 to sign iron man Garvey, 33, or have to bid for him, if they want, in the Nov. 10 reentry draft (62 major leaguers declared eligible; list on Page C13) . . . And if Garvey stays, an L.A. newspaper reports, either Mike Marshall or Greg Brock, youngsters on standby to replace him at first base, will be offered to Pittsburgh in a deal for catcher Tony Pena.

White Sox hit 87 home runs away, only 51 in Comiskey Park (to foes' 43) this year. So, with Steve Kemp and Greg Luzinski complaining about "Death Valley" distances, Chicagoans will move the infield out eight feet, reducing plate-to-fence dimensions from 349 down the lines, 382 in power alleys, 409 to dead center to 341, 374, 401. More room to catch fouls, too?