August 2012

The 1983 Arms Race

When the Dodgers lost the NL West title by one game to the Atlanta Braves in 1982, the teams again jockeyed for position the following summer with high-profile trades involving American League pitchers. The Dodgers, trailing by 3 1/2 games on August 19, acquired left-hander Rick Honeycutt from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitchers Dave Stewart and Ricky Wright. Honeycutt was 14-8 with a 2.42 ERA with Texas (his 174.2 innings were enough to qualify for the A.L. ERA title). Honeycutt won his first two starts on August 21 and 27, allowing just one run in 16 innings.

On the day after Honeycutt’s second start with the Dodgers, the Braves traded for pitcher Len Barker from the Cleveland Indians. At the time, the Dodgers trailed the Braves by just one-half game. In 24 games with the 1983 Indians, Barker was 8-13 with a 5.11 ERA, but his track record included a 19-win season with Cleveland in 1980, a perfect game in 1982 and 15 wins in 1982. In six starts with the Braves, Barker went 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA.

After the Barker trade, Honeycutt went 0-3 with a 9.97 ERA in six September appearances. The Dodgers clinched the division title on September 30 in Game No. 160 and finished three games ahead of the Braves.

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