Here is a early report on each franchise's early 1978 storylines through April 21st / 22nd of the season.
Baltimore Orioles (6-7 / A.L. East)
The Orioles have yet to string together two consecutive victories at any point in the season, while their biggest losing streak has only been two straight losses. The O's are only batting .212 as a collective. Their pitching strength is their starting pitching, while their bullpen has been horrendous.
- Eddie Murray had a good start to the season, but cooled off for a good stretch, but recently has gone 3-for-9 to lift his average up to .269 with 2 HR & 9 RBI (.771 OPS).
- Lee May has been the O's better hitter of late, after a sluggish start (6-for-29 with no HR), in which a double header got May jump-started. May hit a walk-off homer in Game 1 of the double-header, while hitting another home run in the 2nd game; May has batted 6-for-18 (.333 with 2 HR) since sluggish start, lifting his batting average (to .255) & his OPS (to .753).
- Mike Flanagan, coming off a shutout, leads the Orioles with a 2.05 ERA, sporting a 2-0 record, while not allowing a home run through 26.1 innings. Flanagan has allowed 14 walks though.
- Other starting pitchers over 16 IP: Jim Palmer (2.16 ERA), Scott McGregor (3.18 ERA, plus 2 saves) & Dennis Martinez (2-1, 3.47 ERA & 19 K).
- Bullpen trio of Don Stanhouse, Tippy Martinez & Joe Kerrigan: Combined for 2-3 record, 2 blown saves & 1 SV through 16 ER (8.31 ERA) allowed through 17.1 innings.
Boston Red Sox (8-5 / A.L. East)
For all the offense loaded into Boston's lineup, the team has under-performed for the majority of the month, but has been starting to wake up. The Red Sox' good timely pitching has been the major reason for the team's success so far (2.59 Team ERA), with 3 complete games & 2 shutouts.
- Mike Torrez (Grade C-Y) has been pitching like a solid Grade A&C, with a 3-0 record, microscopic 0.88 ERA, 2 shutouts & 12 K through 30.2 innings.
- Jim Rice was quiet through Boston's first 10 games, with no home runs. Rice woke up with a 3 home runs, 6 hits & 8 RBI during a two-game period (Apr 20th-21st) -- Now sporting .289, 3 HR & 13 RBI (.780 OPS) numbers for the season.
- Jerry Remy was Boston's top hitter, leading the league in hitting (.448) through April 15th, while still leading the team with a .333 batting average, while getting on base at a .407 clip.
- Dennis Eckersley (Grade A-YZ) has been victim of the bad luck bug, with a 0-3 record & 4.91 ERA through 22 innings of work.
California Angels (9-4 / A.L. West)
The Halos were the talk of all of baseball during the first week of the season, jumping off to a 7-0 record, but has cooled off since, losing 4 of 6 games, which included a 2-1 series loss to the 2nd year Mariners. The batters have cooled off of late, while the pitchers have been dinged up of late, but their overall numbers (.262 batting average & 2.84 team ERA) have been overall good.
- Don Baylor (1.121 OPS) has been solid, hitting .404, 3 HR & 14 RBI with 21 hits & 6 BB, which have contributed to his exceptional .467 on-base percentage.
- Bobby Grich, another Angel with an 1.000 OPS, has been quiet of late, but still is batting .360 with 1 HR & 9 RBI, with 13 bases on balls.
- Nolan Ryan (2-0) is everything you expect from Nolan -- Leading the team with 30 strikeouts, while sporting a 2.31 ERA and not allowing a HR as of yet through 23.1 innings.
- Frank Tanana (2-1) is 2nd on the team in ERA (2.38), and is one of three starters who each have a shutout (Ryan & Knapp are the other two).
- Chris Knapp (1-1) has 21 strikeouts, while only allowing 1 walk through 21.1 innings, while leading Angels starting pitchers with a .891 WHIP.
Cleveland Indians (1-9 / A.L. East)
The Tribe's hitters (.188 AVG) have not showed up at any point during the first three weeks of this season, while the pitching showed up early in the season has faltered since -- faltering to a 5.12 ERA.
- Don Hood has a 2.40 ERA through 3 games, 2 GS & 15 innings, with 9 strikeouts and a 1.000 WHIP for the season. Hood had a no-hitter broken up by Jim Rice on his April 10th outing, in which he allowed 1 hit in 9 innings of work, while striking out 7 Red Sox & walking 1 -- while the Indians' bullpen couldn't prevent Boston from winning in extras, 2-1.
- Mike Paxton has pitched 2 games of long relief, posting a 1.13 ERA with 5 K through 8 IP.
Chicago White Sox (3-7 / A.L. West)
The White Sox are currently in the midst of a 5-game losing streak, and have had very little to cheer about. Their highlight of the young season would be the team rallying from a 5-1, 7th inning deficit, in which the team scored 5 runs during the last three innings, as Bobby Bonds delivered a walk-off 9th inning home run to defeat the Blue Jays.
The White Sox, three days later, showed what their offense is capable of again, with a 4-run 9th inning late rally in a game that the Yankees' Ron Guidry dominated in (the previous 8 innings), only to fall short in a 6-5 loss.
The White Sox are only batting .198 for the season.
- Lamar Johnson leads the Chisox in hits (11) & batting average (.297). The team's next best hitters are Soderholm (.250) and Chet Lemon (.231).
- Bobby Bonds and Eric Soderholm each lead the team with 3 HR, while Lemon has the team's other 2 HR. The rest of the team has yet to hit a long ball.
Detroit Tigers (7-3 / A.L. East)
The Tigers sit tied in first with the Milwaukee Brewers (9-5), in which the real-life 1978 Tigers were in first place the majority of the time in the A.L. East from the beginning of the season through May 21st. Many people probably don't remember that, while they would go on to finish in 5th place, but with a 86-76 record.
Their APBA counterparts are doing it at both ends of the baseball spectrum in batting and pitching. They are currently leading the league, batting .294 with a .762 OPS, while also leading the league in ERA (2.30), although they are not whiffing many opponents with their arms (22 K in 10 games, with more walks allowed at 29).
- Ron LeFlore leads the team in hits (19), batting average (.422) & stolen bases (7), while ranking 3rd in RBI (7).
- Rusty Staub "Le Grand Orange" had 4 consecutive games with a home run, between April 11th-15th.
- Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, done for the season, pitched incredibly during his three 1978 Replay starts: 3-0, 1.64 ERA, 22 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 8 K & 0.682 WHIP.
- John Hiller has been a perfect 4-for-4 in Save opportunities, allowing only 1 hit & no runs through 5 innings.
- Rookies Alan Trammell (.455) and Lou Whitaker (.375) are batting a combined .407 this season (22-for-54), with 15 RBI & 15 runs scored.
Kansas City Royals (9-2 / A.L. West)
The Royals just had their 7-game winning streak snapped, while they are doing it on both sides of the ball. A well-rounded team that is so good, that you can see exactly why they went to a third straight American League Championship Series during 1978.
The team is currently batting .261, while their pitching has a 2.51 team ERA.
- George Brett is batting .360 with 8 RBI, 18 hits, 10 runs, 3 SB & .867 OPS -- Doing really great for what was a bit of a down-year for Brett in 78' (.294 AVG, 9 HR & .806 OPS).
- Amos Otis was the team's offensive MVP in 78', and his APBA card is definitely illustrating that success, with a hot start: .412 AVG, 2 HR, 14 RBI & 11 BB (1.212 OPS & .565 OBP).
- The workhorse Dennis Leonard is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA & 27 strikeouts through 34 innings & 4 starts this season.
Milwaukee Brewers (9-5 / A.L. East)
1978 was the season that the Milwaukee Brewers finally broke through to the winning side, with their franchise's 1st winning season at 93-69. The Brewers finished 3rd, but their Pythagorean Record has them as a 97-win team. I expect Brewers to definitely be in the mix for the division title by the end of the season, if not, it would be a huge disappointment to their fans.
The Brewers' lineup is strong from top to bottom, although they may be underachieving at the moment (their .721 OPS definitely could be higher). Milwaukee also has a strong bench. Their pitching (2.62 ERA) has allowed the 5th fewest runs (39) in the American League, at 2.8 runs per game.
- Mike Caldwell pitched a no-hitter against the New York Yankees (Game #88 / April 22nd), which followed a three-inning relief win against New York about 10 days before that. Caldwell, in real-life was a bit of a Yankees killer, with a 3.05 career ERA against Yankees (3.81 Career ERA) & 2.54 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
- Larry Hisle is batting .327 with 5 HR & 12 RBI, while drawing 7 walks & scoring 11 times; Season's OPS sits at 1.021, while he has a .403 On-Base Percentage.
- Moose Haas has been outstanding considering his Grade D-KZ card. Haas has a 3.24 ERA & 1.160 WHIP with 29 strikeouts through 25 innings & 4 starts. Haas has been unlikely though when it comes down to his win-loss record, which sits at 1-3.
- Paul Molitor has struggled big time early on, batting only .152 (7-for-46) with only 2 RBI -- while he sports a lousy .496 OPS.
Minnesota Twins (8-9 / A.L. West)
The Twins were nothing special in 1978. Their pitching ranked 10th in the A.L., while they had a few brights spots such as Dave Goltz, Geoff Zahn & Mike Marshall. The team's batting was 4th that season, although I would never consider their lineup anywhere near the top four.
The team only won 73 games in 1978, but their Pythagorean says they dropped the ball, and should have been more of a 80-82 team. I have the Twins playing better at this part of the schedule at 8-9, when they were 6-11 at this point.
- Dan Ford has been playing really well (then again this also involves 9 games against the Mariners) . Ford is batting .352 with 16 RBI, and leads the team in hits (25), which is even more than Carew's 23.
- Although Rod Carew is batting .315, it has been a quiet .315, with an underachieving .729 OPS (compared to his real-life .853 OPS)... so it's good to know that he can only improve from here on out.
- Dave Goltz has been excellent, showing off a 3-0 record and 1.39 ERA to boot. Goltz also has a outstanding 0.742 WHIP, despite 10 walks. Goltz' ERA has not been effected too much by the 4 long balls he has allowed in 4 starts. Goltz has 2 complete games & a shutout, while logging 32.1 innings.
New York Yankees (7-6 / A.L. East)
During 1978, the Yankees won their first back-to-back World Series in 16 years (their last being 1961-1962). The Yankees would go on to win 100 games, catching the Boston Red Sox for the A.L. East Division Title (thanks to Bucky Dent).
The Yankees may only be 7-6 at the moment, while just coming off a performance where they were no-hit by Milwaukee's Caldwell... but they are at least 1 game better than where their MLB counterparts sat at this point.
Although the team has lost 3 of their last 5 games, the Yankees should be a championship contending team all year around, even without Billy [Martin], who will be fired by the end of July 27th.
The team's offense (.247 BA & .647 OPS) has been subdued, and will likely break out of its shell soon, while the team's ERA (3.18) is equaled to it's real-life season total.
- Graig Nettles is the only offensive star even worth reporting at this moment -- batting .325 (which leads the team), with 13 hits, 4 RBI & a team-best .828 OPS.
- Ron Guidry (Grade A&C-KZ) was amazing in 1978, and his APBA card has been showing that as well. Guidry is currently 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 30 K, 13 BB & 0.825 WHIP through 26.2 innings.
- Not to be outdone by Guidry is Ed Figueroa (Grade A-Z), who is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA & a 0.826 WHIP through 23 innings.
- The Yankees bullpen (1.95 ERA) has allowed only 6 earned runs through 27.2 innings. Rich Gossage is 0-1, 1.13 ERA, with 7 K, 7 BB & a Save through 8 innings.
Oakland Athletics (6-7 / A.L. West)
The Athletics jumped out to a surprise 14-3 start in the real deal 1978 season. I have the team with 4 more losses through 13 games, which is more accurate in repeating the team's season fate.
The A's have been hitting really well (.289 AVG, 2nd only to Detroit), but will likely fall back to earth, since their .245 batting average in 1978 was an American League worst.
- Gary Alexander has 8 HR already this season through 13 games. He only hit 10 for the Athletics, until being traded to the Cleveland Indians, in which he would end the season with 27 home runs. Alexander also happens to be hitting .372 with 16 RBI & 1.438 OPS for the 78' A.L. Replay.
- Gary Thomasson's card is also outplaying his MLB counterpart -- batting .373 with 2 HR & 7 ribbies.
- The theme of overachieving continues... Miguel Dilone leads the team in hitting (.417), hits (20) and stolen bases (10).
- The Athletics' rotation combination of Rick Langford, Matt Keough, John Henry Johnson & Alan Wirth, are 6-3 with a 3.13 ERA & 42 strikeouts through 72 innings.
Seattle Mariners (7-11 / A.L. West)
The Mariners entered their 2nd season of existence during the 78' season, while they will go on to only two winning seasons (1991 & 1993) prior to 1995. The 1995 MLB Season would prove to be pivotal in the fate of the Mariners franchise in Seattle, as they won the A.L. West in a one-game playoff vs. California, then went on to win the ALDS against the Yankees -- which would save baseball in Seattle.
The Mariners have won 4 of their last 6 games during the replay.
- Bruce Bochte has been the M's offensive MVP, batting .366 with 3 HR, 18 RBI, 26 hits, 10 runs & 9 doubles to go along with a 1.038 OPS (.418 OBP).
- Rupert Jones is batting .324 (22 hits) with 1 HR, 10 RBI & 10 BB (.410 OBP).
- Dick Pole (Grade D) has been a surprise so far -- 2-1, 2.38 ERA, 14 K / 6 BB & 1.235 WHIP through 22.2 innings & 4 starts.
Texas Rangers (4-6 / A.L. West)
The Rangers are not currently playing like a Rangers team that is coming off a 94-win season in 1977 or the 1978 season, in which they would go on to finish in 2nd place (tied with California, 5 games back) at 87-75.
The Rangers' bats have struggled so far, as the team's .185 batting average hangs below the Mendoza Line. Things may get better, once they start playing weaker competition, they have had challenging opponents so far in the Yankees, Red Sox & Tigers.
- Richie Zisk has overall been their lone star, leading the team in hitting (.314), hits (11), home runs (4), while tied with Al Oliver for team lead in RBI with 7.
- Bert Campaneris has been playing above par, batting .276 with a HR, 6 steals, while tied for 2nd in hits (8).
- Jon Matlack (Grade A-YZ) has been solid as expected: 1-2, 2.03 ERA, 20 K / 7 BB, 0.713 WHIP & complete game in 3 starts / 26.2 innings.
Toronto Blue Jays (5-8 / A.L. East)
The 2nd year Blue Jays would finish 7th in 1978, 10 games behind Cleveland, and would not experience a postseason berth until 1985 -- although 10 years ahead of Seattle, their 1977 expansion brother.
The Jays are not doing much on either side of the ball, batting only .218, while posting an American League worst 4.71.
- Roy Howell currently leads the Jays in hitting (.320), hits (16), while tied with 3 other teammates in home runs (2). Howell also has a team-leading .882 OPS & .382 OBP.
- John Mayberry trails just behind Howell in overall production -- batting .273 with 2 HR & 6 RBI, which includes a .873 OPS & .373 OBP.
- Reliever Tom Murphy (Grade C*-Z) has been a tough match-up for opposing batters so far. Murphy is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA & 0.943 WHIP through 11.2 innings / 8 game appearances.