Allentown Morning Call - August 19, 1980

Exciting stretch runs loom in 3 divisions


By The Associated Press


With seven weeks left to the regular baseball season, pennant races in both leagues are beginning to crystalize with three of the four divisions promising exciting stretch runs. 


Only in the American League West, where Kansas City is rolling comfortably atop the division, does the race seem settled. 


In the AL East, Baltimore has come on to challenge the New York Yankees. If those teams go down the stretch, they will be doing plenty of scoreboard watching. That's because they finished their season's business last night in Baltimore and will not meet again the rest of the way.


Both teams headed west after playing each other eight times in 11 days. They will tour Seattle, Oakland and California before returning . home Aug. 28 to entertain the same three West Coast clubs. That's a 19-game stretch against the West for each the Orioles and Yankees and it carries them through Sept. 7. After that, they spend the remainder of the regular season playing East Division opponents Detroit, Boston, Cleveland and Toronto. Both also have completed their season's business with Milwaukee, the other East club. 


A five-game sweep of the New York Mets has thrust Philadelphia in the midst of the National League East division race, battling Montreal and Pittsburgh for the top. 


The Phillies moved to within 3½ games of the first place Pirates over the weekend and have won seven of their last eight games after being swept in a four-game series by Pittsburgh.


The Phillies begin a nine-game homestand against the West tonight and then go west for series in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. That takes them through Sept. 7 and after that it will be all East Division opponents the rest of the way. Included in that final month are five games at home against Pittsburgh and Montreal and five on the road, including the final three games of the season in Montreal. 


Pittsburgh, coming off the sweep of the Phillies, lost two of three to the Mets, then won three of four against Montreal to drop the Expos into second place. Now the Pirates will peek into the West Division race, playing 13 of their next 16 games against Houston and Cincinnati. Then Pittsburgh returns to the East for the final month, including four games against Philadelphia and five against Montreal. 


Cincinnati is in the midst of a homestand against East teams and will play Pittsburgh seven times in the next two weeks. The Reds' last month includes five games at home against Los Angeles and Houston, a three-game series in Houston and three more games in LA. 


The Astros finish their business with the East on Sept. 7 and then play the Dodgers and Reds five times at home and five times on the road. The decisive series could be the last one of the season three games at Los Angeles. 


The Dodgers' final month starts and ends with the Astros. Besides five games against Houston, LA has six against Cincinnati, the first three in Cincinnati immediately after two games in Houston.