Wilmington Evening Journal - April 16, 1980

Green still worried about Phils’ pitching


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


ST. LOUIS – Dallas Green, an old pitcher himself, admitted in spring training the Phillies' pitching at the time was scary.


Now, after only four regular-season games, the Phils' manager has not changed his tune.


Take last night's 7-2 loss to St. Louis at chilly Busch Memorial Stadium.


Left-hander Randy Lerch was unable to get the No. 8 batter in the St. Louis lineup out. And to make matters worse, the hitter was a lefty himself, second baseman Ken Oberkfell. He lined a two-run double in the sixth inning that gave the Cards a 5-2 lead at the time.


Then, any hopes of getting back in the game were wiped out when veteran Ron Reed allowed winning pitcher Pete Vuckovich to double in two more runs in the eighth.


For the most part, Lerch pitched well. He had not faced live hitters since April 1 in the last exhibition game before the players' strike.


Last night, as 8,176 customers shivered in their seats, Lerch did not allow a hit until Garry Templeton opened the fourth with a sizzling double off the wall in center field. That was quickly turned into a run, and another scored in the fifth.


It became 3-1 in the sixth when Keith Hernandez scored on Ken Reitz' sacrifice fly. Even that did not discourage Green.


But when Lerch hung an 0-1 slider to Oberkfell, Green looked away from the action.


"If he (Lerch) can't get a left-handed hitter like Oberkfell out, I'm in trouble," said the manager. "The choice of the pitch was good, but he got the slider up. It was a bad pitch."


Kevin Saucier did his job in the seventh, but Reed was ineffective in the eighth.


"You have to be concerned about him, especially when he cannot get the pitcher out," said Green. "Ron does not look like he's got his act together. He does not have the consistency you expect from a veteran. I am sure he is wondering what is going on, too.


"He left spring training a day or two early to drive his family north, so maybe that inactivity hurt him. But with his experience, you'd expect him to be more consistent."


On a night when St. Louis threw a cannon named Pete Vuckovich at the opposition, the Phillies could not afford to have anything but a solid effort from their pitching staff.


Vuckovich was brilliant, despite the fact the Phils ended his 37-inning scoreless string that was built up with a shutout in the season opener against Pittsburgh last Thursday plus numerous intrasquad and exhibition games in spring training.


"I just think he pitched a helluva game," said Green. "When you have a guy like that out there, the only thing you can hope for is that you get him but of there aqd somebody you can handle comes in. We hacked at him pretty good, but we couldn't handle him. His location was excellent. He moved the ball in and out and changed speeds well.


"I don't care who he pitches against, he's going to win a lot of games with performances like tonight's."


"On a scale of 1 to 10, I was 8 or 9 against Pittsburgh," said Vuckovich. "Tonight, I was a 6 or 7, but I'll take it."


"Best I have seen him throw," said Manny Trillo, who had two of the Phillies' five hits. "He was really popping his fastball and he kept it down so good."


"He just goes out there and challenges every hitter," said St. Louis catcher Ted Simmons. "He was not as overpowering tonight as he was against Pittsburgh, but he had plenty to get by with."


EXTRA POINTS – Lerch doubled home the Phils' first run in the sixth after Trillo had doubled and gone to third on a balk... Rookie George Vuckovich got his first major-league RBI with an infield out in the eighth, allowing Larry Bowa to score from third... Bowa took over sixth place on the Phils' all-time hits list with his eighth-inning single. He now has 1,554, one more than Cy Williams. Richie Ashburn leads with 2,217... Bobby Bonds took extra bases away from Pete Rose in the eighth inning when be made a running catch of screaming liner... Vuckovich has won six straight games against the Phils, including four last year. His last loss was on April 15, 1978 in relief... Bob Forsch, who pitched a no-hitter against the Phils two years ago yesterday, was to pitch against Steve Carlton today... Immediately after the game, the Phils fly to Montreal. Tomorrow is an open date, followed by afternoon games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the Expos at Olympic Stadium.

Maddox signs for $712,000 per year


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


ST. LOUIS – Garry Maddox, who a month ago felt certain he would be traded when salary negotiations reached an impasse, yesterday received the largest contract ever given by the Phillies.


The 30-year-old center fielder agreed to a six-year, $4.2-million guaranteed contract that runs through 1985 with a four-year, no-trade clause.


Maddox, who was already the highest-paid center fielder in baseball at $425,000, now becomes the highest-paid member of the Phillies this season. Maddox will earn $712,000, putting him ahead of the $710,000 Pete Rose will make. Mike Schmidt is third at $560,000.


Rose, whose four-year contract is valued at $3.2 million, is said to make $810,000 a year. The first baseman, however, took $910,000 his first season and will make $710,000 this time.


Although Rose still remains the highest-paid player on the team overall, Maddox' new contract, which is retroactive to the beginning of this season, is the largest package owner Ruly Carpenter has ever given.


"I said all along I wanted to remain in Philadelphia," Maddox reiterated last night during an informal press conference before the Phils played the Cardinals. "I told Jerry Kapstein (his agent) to do everything in his power to keep me with the Phillies."


Maddox, who was on the final year of a five-year agreement, had insisted if the Phillies did not sign him before the start of this season he would become a free agent. He said he would not have contract negotiations interfering with his play.


Phillies' owner Ruly Carpenter said rather than lose Maddox to the free-agent, re-entry draft, he would trade him. About the same time, Kapstein said negotiations had reached an impasse and that there would be no further talks until after the re-entey draft in the fall.


On Wednesday night, March 19, Carpenter visited Maddox' spring-training home at Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. The two talked for several hours. Carpenter pointed out that Garry was the highest-paid center fielder and that although he could probably earn more by becoming a free agent, the Phillies would give him a fair contract.


The following Friday afternoon, Kapstein phoned Carpenter and .negotiations were reopened. They talked throughout the remaining days of spring training, setting April 11 as a deadline.


"But when it looked like we were close last Thursday, we agreed to keep it open," said Kapstein, who flew here from California yesterday afternoon. "I must emphasize that the negotiations were amicable throughout. Obviously, there was a time early in spring training when the differences were so great it did not look like we would get together. That's when I made the statement."


"They came down in their demands three times and we went up twice," said Paul Owens, Phillies' director of player personnel. "When they came down the second time, Ruly and I felt we might be able to sign him. The negotiations were on the highest level at all times."


Even though the Phillies realized it would have been difficult to win the National League Eastern Division without Maddox, Owens was ready to trade him.


"Had the negotiations continued to remain stalemated, I would have explored all avenues to move him," Owens said. "We consider him the best center fielder in baseball, but we did not want to lose him as a free agent."


In the final weekend of what Kapstein termed marathon negotiations, the agreement to put the no-trade clause in the contract turned the tide.


"The length of the contract was never a problem," said Owens. "We talked mostly about four or five years, but the six years gives Garry the type of security he was seeking. We feel he has the type of body that will enable him to play consistently for five or six more years. There are some players we would not want to give such a long contract to."


Early in the spring, it was reported Maddox was asking for a million dollars a year for at least four. He denied that, but based on what he received, that figure was probably accurate.


"Getting this contract gives me the kind of security and the kind of peace of mind I wanted," said Maddox. "Sure, it was a compromise and I could have gotten more as a free agent, but I said all along I wanted to remain in Philadelphia. That is my home."


Maddox came to the Phils on May 4, 1975 in a trade with San Francisco for Willie Montanez. He hit .281 last year and has a lifetime major-league average of .293. He has won the Gold Glove for his defensive play the last five years.