One day in spring training, Oil Can Boyd exploded at a sportswriter who asked him about some overdue videos borrowed for the Can's Film Festival last spring. The next morning, Roger Clemens walked out of camp in a contract dispute. Then, in rapid succession, Boyd took a cortisone shot for a sore shoulder. Bill Buckner broke down limping, and Bruce Hurst reinjured the groin pull that sidelined him for six weeks last season. "Typical post-Series spring," said Cardinal manager Whitey Herzog with a shrug, and he should know.
This has hardly been an idyllic spring for the AL champions. But manager John McNamara believes the Red Sox will again contend, "if we get Clemens back in time and if we get [free-agent catcher] Rich Gedman back on May 1." The latter seems certain and the former inevitable.
The Red Sox won because they had the best pitching in the division. In Clemens, Hurst and Boyd, Boston has a Big Three capable of 50 to 55 wins. If Bob Stanley can ignore the fans, he should make an easy transition to starter.
Consistent scoring, though, is another matter. Boston was fifth in the division in runs and sixth in homers last season. Buckner may not be able to make it through the year, and outfielders Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and David Henderson have all had recent knee operations. Wade Boggs, who won his third batting title, would like to bat third, but he's Boston's only leadoff man. It's tough to repeat, and the Sox just don't seem tough enough.
Leading batters after 1900: Cobb, .367; Hornsby, .358; Joe Jackson, .356; Boggs, .352.
No lefthander has ever struck him out twice in one game.
Career rate of one strikeout every 22.8 plate appearances best among active players.
Only player with 20 HRs and 100 RBIs in each of last four seasons.
Has batted .398 (41 for 103) with bases loaded over the last eight seasons.
Loves to face Ernie Camacho (.714, 5 for 7, 2 HRs); hates to face Bill Swaggerty (0 for 8).
A HR rate of one per 27.18 at bats, which is better than Dave Parker's (27.23).
On Aug. 21, joined Mel Ott, Johnny Pesky and Frank Torre when he scored six runs in a game.
Best ERA in AL (2.48) plus best run support in majors (6.09 runs per game) equals 24-4 record.
First lefty since Lefty Grove (1936) to pitch four shutouts at Fenway in one season.
O. C. BOYD
You want consistency? Opponents' annual batting since 1983: .269, .269, .261, .265.
A career average of one wild pitch per 105.2 innings.
Opponents' BA dropped from .368 in '85 to .201 last season.