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Leyva Gone, Fregosi Arrives
It’s hard to figure out what was on Lee Thomas’s mind when he fired Nick Leyva after a 4-9 start to the 1991 season; Leyva was a guy he knew well after working closely with him for several years, first with the Cardinals and here with the Phillies for a year and a half. Leyva had done a good job with the 1990 team, what was Thomas looking for? And what did he expect from Jim Fregosi, the man he picked to replace Leyva? Fregosi was an American League man, with seven years’ of undistinguished managerial experience with the LA Angels and the Chicago White Sox.
The team that Fregosi inherited was almost the same one as the year before, with some differences. Most notably, Dale Murphy, played 153 games in left field, hit 18 home runs and batted in 81 runs, decent numbers, but well below his MVP years with Atlanta. A big change in the bullpen – lefthander Mitch Williams came in a trade with the Cubs in early April, and put in a solid year as the number one man out of the bullpen: 12-5 with 30 saves and a 2.34 ERA. Terry Mulholland emerged as a number one starter with 16 wins, 13 losses, and a 3.61 ERA. Tommy Greene was 13-7, 3.38, and pitched a no hit-no run game in a 2-0 win over Montreal on May 23 at Montreal’s Stade Olympique before 8,833 spectators and an ocean of empty seats. Oil Can Boyd took the loss.
Greene’s no-hitter came during a remarkable stretch of pitching that marked him as a reliable righthanded starting pitcher option for manager Fregosi. On May 17 at the Vet, Greene pitched the final four innings of a 16-inning 1-0 Phillies’ win over the Cubs; his May 23 no-hitter extended his scoreless inning streak to 13. On May 28 at the Vet, he pushed his scoreless streak to 22 innings as he blanked Montreal again, 12-0, pitching eight innings of one-hit ball after two first inning hits. The scoreless streak reached 27 on June 2 at the Vet before it ended on a two-run home run by Pittsburgh’s Barry Bonds.
At the end, the Phillies (78-84) tied with the Cubs for third place, 20 games behind the Pirates.By max blue