Twenty questions, or thereabouts:
Why are the Phillies doing so well? Len Dykstra went into Friday night's game with 40 hits in his previous 79 at-bats, five regulars were batting .287 or better and two other regulars were batting .277 and .263. Thus, they are third in the NL in runs despite being 11th in homers and 12th in stolen bases.
Seven pitchers, including four of five starters, have ERAs below 3.80. Roger McDowell, whose ERA is 4.30, has 11 saves.
By the way, no matter how you slice it, Dykstra is hitting. He entered the weekend batting .306 against left-handers (he batted .222 against them last season) and .448 against right-handers, .484 with runners in scoring position.
Can the Red Sox be for real? Yes. They are second in the AL East, even though Wade Boggs is batting .306 and Mike Greenwell is hitting .232 (.111 with runners in scoring position). Pitcher Mike Boddicker has won five consecutive starts and in his last 38 innings has a 1.42 ERA. Roger Clemens is 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA. And remember, they play in the AL East.
How can a team score a run without putting a ball in play and without getting more than one walk? Last Sunday, the Indians' Brook Jacoby walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch by Mike Jackson, advanced to third on a passed ball by Scott Bradley and came home on a balk by Jackson.
Is a walk as good as a hit? The Reds began the weekend third in the NL in hits, first in batting average, 11th in walks and second in runs. The Orioles began the weekend last in hits, last in the AL in batting average, first in walks and ninth in runs.
Do you want to play infield for the Angels? "No way," said California Manager Doug Rader, a former third baseman. "I'm afraid I might get hurt." The Angels have seven players on the disabled list, including infielders Dick Schofield, Mark McLemore, Kent Anderson, Jack Howell and Bill Schroeder. They had only nine players on the DL all of last season.
Will it make any difference that the Reds are in a 19-game stretch during which they will play 17 on the road? They are 15-4 on the road (the White Sox lead the AL with a 15-6 home record) and are 21-0 when they score first.
How good is Jose Canseco? Excluding Canseco, the Athletics batted .194 during an eight-game road trip that concluded Tuesday. In addition, their starting pitchers had a 4.60 ERA. Canseco went 14 for 33 on the trip with six homers and 16 RBI, thus playing a role in nearly half of the 33 runs Oakland scored while going 4-4. Said Manager Tony La Russa: "I just told him not only do I know how good he is, I probably think he's better than he thinks he is. And you know he thinks he's very good, right?" Uh, right.
Why does Mariners first baseman Alvin Davis already have little chance of appearing in the All-Star Game despite reaching base in his first 38 games and 39 of 40 this season? He is not on the all-star ballot. The Mariners nominated Pete O'Brien instead.
Are pregame players-only team meetings effective? Yes. The Mets followed one on Monday with victories Monday night and Tuesday night. Their modest winning streak ended Thursday night when the Padres held a meeting of their own and proceeded to defeat New York and pitcher Frank Viola. Viola is 0-3 against San Diego and 7-0 against the rest of the NL.
And would you believe? Expos pitcher Dennis "La Cannette" Boyd is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings against the Padres this season and 1-2 with a 5.08 ERA in 51 2/3 innings against the rest of the NL. Boyd's shutouts of the Padres came 10 days apart. This after he had not thrown a shutout since June 1985 and had not had a complete-game victory since Sept. 28, 1986.
A Record for Harkey
Is everything in baseball so related? Well, the Cubs' Mike Harkey tied the major league record for putouts in an inning by a pitcher by making three in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game against the Dodgers. Harkey, whose putouts all came on grounders to first baseman Mark Grace, is the third National Leaguer to tie the record. The other two, Rick Reuschel (1975) and Ed Lynch (1986), also were with the Cubs when they accomplished the feat. Earlier this season, Greg Maddux set the major league record for putouts in a game by a pitcher by making seven.
What do the 1990 Tigers have in common with the 1984 Tigers? The 1990 Tigers' 6-0 record on a road trip completed last Sunday gave them their first road trip without a loss since May 1984, when they began the season 35-5.
Does this have anything to do with the fact that Houston went into a weekend series at Wrigley Field having lost their last eight straight outdoor games?
How happy is Tom Brunansky to have been traded from the Cardinals to the Red Sox? He now has 13 home runs in 39 career games at Fenway Park after hitting 12 in 159 games at Busch Stadium.
How much help have the Twins been getting from their bullpen? Their relievers are a combined 11-1 with 11 saves in 13 opportunities and a 3.25 ERA.
Tough Days for Davis
They have allowed 12 of 55 inherited runners to score, and the Twins are 6-0 in one-run games and 19-0 when leading after seven innings. The Royals bullpen has blown nine of 15 save opportunities, with Mark Davis blowing four of nine.
Is baseball a tough game? Rangers outfielder Ruben Sierra sprained an ankle falling while extricating his young daughter from some trouble with a mall escalator in Texas; Pirates pitcher John Smiley, a left-hander, broke his left hand when he slammed a taxi door shut on it in Atlanta; Angels pitcher Chuck Finley sprained his right ankle when he fell while walking to a restaurant for lunch in Toronto.
This brings us to the Negative New York Note of the Week, Mets File. Last Saturday, Mets catcher Mackey Sasser accidentally moved a metal folding chair on top of pitcher Dwight Gooden's bare left foot and then sat down. Despite an extremely sore middle toe, Gooden allowed just three hits in five innings on Monday night -- good enough in a 12-3 victory over the Dodgers.
Is there a Negative New York Note of the Week from the Yankees File? Are you kidding? First baseman Don Mattingly this week struck out in four consecutive games for the first time in his career.