Philadelphia Daily News - April 17, 1980
Carlton’s 150th Is One for the Road
By Bill Conlin
ST. LOUIS – There are some baseball games where the manager could slip into the clubhouse, shower and beat the traffic out of the ballpark. Nobody would notice.
Dallas Green calls games like that "no-brain-ers." You go into the bottom of the ninth breezing 8-0 and what's a manager gonna do? He might as well be the fireman on an electric locomotive.
The Phillies exploded for six ninth-inning runs to beat the Cardinals 8-3 yesterday. Steve Carlton. who paralyzed St. Louis with breaking balls on the way to his 150th Phillies victory, breezed into the ninth with a four-hit shutout and did what any veteran pitcher would do with a big lead. He went to his fastball. The Cards, who attack fastballs the way Scientologists go after their critics, mounted a one-out hail of line drives. Keith Hernandez scorched a double. Ted Simmons drilled a single. Bobby Bonds skied a triple off the fence in left-center and George Hendrick fired a single up the middle for three quick runs.
"IT BECAME A three-quarter brainer," Green grinned after the Phillies' first road victory of the season.
Green raised a few eyebrows by bringing in Dickie Noles to pitch short relief for the first time in his career. Riding along with a five-run pad. it was a no risk experiment. In a one-run game, the manager would probably have gone to a veteran.
But Green wears his heart on a size 38 sleeve. He hasn’t been thrilled with the work of Ron Reed in his first two outings and has said so. Twice. The 400-foot, bases-loaded final out Tug McGraw served to Ellis Valentine Saturday didn’t raise Green's confidence level. And Valentine, the first hitter faced by Lerrin LaGrow as a Phil, greeted the former free agent with a game-winning 10th inning homer Sunday.
Enter Noles into a short-man's situation which lacked normal short-man pressure. Perfect. The free spirit from North Carolina threw a ground out and a foul fly to kill the rally.
Can we expect to see more of Noles in late-inning situations?
ITS ONE (role) he can fill, in my opinion," Green dodged. "I like the way Dickie comes at hitters. I think our guys do, too. He works hard, challenges them, works quick, keeps the fielders up on their toes, which they like. He's demonstrating more and more he can get the ball over. He doesn't scare. He's got some belly. I've always had in the back of my mind he'd make a good bullpenner."
Noles is a short man in the clubhouse, too, answering questions with brevity and no attempt at wit, letting a word or nod here, a phrase there suffice.
"I felt pretty good... Just got to throw strikes right away. That was on my mind," Noles elaborated. "I was throwing in the eighth to get my throwing in and he called down in the ninth and told me to get up – just in case. Whatever I can do to help is OK. I cant complain as long as I'm here."
Pete Rose, off to a 3-for-21 start ("Ray Charles could do better than bleeping 3-for-21," Rose said), likes the way Noles goes about his work.
"He pitches fast, don't bleep around out there," Rose said. "Guys like that keep you on your toes."
IT WAS AN on-your-toes game until the Phillies plundered Ken Boyer's suspect bullpen. The Phils used consecutive doubles by Garry Maddox, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead against Bob Forsch, who no-hit them here exactly two years ago. But Forsch didn’t appear sharp at any time and Green feels the Phillies should have been able to get into the bullpen earlier than the ninth inning.
"I thought we should have done a better job with Forsch," Dallas said. "I didn’t think he had that good a stuff, nothing like the guy (Pete Vuckovich) had last night. We let him off the hook a few times, I thought."
Schmidt, who started the ninth-inning sack of righthander Roy Thomas with a single, disagreed somewhat with his manager.
"He was the same as always," Michael Jack. shrugged, "makes you put the ball in play. A lot of people are going to hit the ball; that's the kind of pitcher he is. He aunt gonna strike a lot of people out."
The biggest hit in the ninth-inning explosion was a two-run single by Garry Maddox off former Yankees lefthander Don Hood. When Lonnie Smith went in to run for the newly-minted centerfielder it appeared Green was giving him a rest. But Garry was limping noticeably when he left the field.
IT TURNS OUT his right hip has been bothering him off and on for the past six weeks and he aggravated it while batting in the seventh.
"It's nothing I can’t play with, no big deal." Maddox said. "I didn’t expect to get run for. It's just something that bothers me if I jam it a certain way."
Maddox is signed to play centerfield for the Phillies through 1985. Let's just say Dallas Green was protecting Ruly Carpenter's long-term investment.
PHILUPS: It's an open date in Montreal today, which is just as well. Temperatures there fell to the low 20s overnight... Dallas Green's three suspects will start against the Expos. It'll be Dick Ruthven vs. Scott Sanderson tomorrow afternoon in the Expos' home opener, Larry Christenson vs. Steve Rogers Saturday and Randy Lerch vs. Bill Lee Sunday... Pedro Borbon, the veteran reliever released by the Giants, accompanied the Cardinals to Pittsburgh and will sign on with St Louis... Larry Bowa is now 2-for-19 and not in the greatest frame of mind of his career... Greg Gross was treated yesterday for a lower back disorder which came on him without warning or apparent cause... Former pitching coach Ray Rippelmeyer drove in from his farm an hour away to visit the Phillies. Rip says the heavy rains have delayed the spring planting.
NEW YORK (UPI) – Negotiations between baseball owners and the Players Association were suspended yesterday by mutual agreement until May 6.
Marvin Miller, executive director of the association, and Ray Grebey, negotiator for the owners, agreed no real progress had been made but remained undiscouraged.
"The owners asked for the week of April 28 off and with the way things were going, we were agreeable," said Miller. "We figured the owners would stonewall until the last moment and so there is not much point in holding meetings. It has been our view that the owners were tempting to provoke a strike and there is no indication their strategy has changed."
FOR THE FIRST time, the major issue of compensation was discussed, but only the owners demands were placed on the table yesterday. In trying to reach a new agreement, the owners are asking more compensation than is presently provided for a team that loses a free agent. The players, however, want to restrict that compensation and will strike beginning May 23 if a new agreement cannot be reached.
"The owners' demand to turn free agency into a trade is the biggest bulwark," said Miller. Compensation is a major stumbling block. We discussed the important issues for the owners, but none of the important issues on the players' side.
"The owners have the same position and the same proposal."
Kenneth Moffett, the federal mediator in the dispute between the players and owners, said he remained hopeful with more than six weeks before the strike deadline.
"WE HAVE TOO much time on our hands, we're so far away from our deadline,' said Moffett. "The meetings broke up today with a bit of acrimony – less than cordial tone between the parties – but I'm not disheartened by the situation."
Grebey said be had proposed some movement on the owners' part, but added, "The Players Association characterized that movement as insignificant.
"The association has homework to do and we have homework to do – the meeting was recessed by mutual agreement. This isnt a war, it's a problem-solving situation."
Red-Neck Cards Don’t Lose Gracefully
By Tom Cushman
ST. LOUIS – Ken Boyer did not handle this game with the grace expected of a manager whose team has just battled back from an 8-0 deficit, and lost 8-3. Usually a pleasant chap, Boyer roamed the St. Louis clubhouse, moving through the coaches' quarters, the training room, the showers – with lengthy pauses in each – and still was in ill humor when he entered his office 45 minutes after the final soft fly had been stroked by Tony Scott, whose average kerplunked to.087 with the effort.
Although several candidates seemed electable, the announced object of Boyer's displeasure was umpire John McSherry, who had neglected to make a call that would have made the ninth inning easier to watch from the Cardinals' dugout.
Ken Boyer was certain that Del Unser of Philadelphia should have been whistled for interference on a grounder Manny Trillo rolled past the shortstop side of second base. Two runs scored on the play, raising the tally to 5-0 at that point, statistics Boyer also found objectionable. Leaving the dugout and meeting the formidable McSherry face-to-jowl, Ken pleaded his case with vigor.
"IN ONE BREATH the man was telling me the ball was on the second-base side of the bag, and in the next breath he's telling me he actually saw it," Boyer said during his clubhouse summary. "Then he wants to compound his goddamn mistake by not even asking for help."
Since the incident occurred early in the Phillies' six-run ninth, and the Cardinals rallied for three in their half of the inning, there were possibilities on which romantics might dwell. "We could have gotten out of that with one run, which means it's a 3-3 score and we're still playing," Boyer insisted. "If that's good umpiring, then I don't know what in hell the game's all about."
In another corner of the St. Louis clubhouse, Ken Reitz was offering a more pedestrian theory. "If the score had stayed 2-0," Reitz suggested, "we might not have gotten any runs."
A random sampling of opinion among the Cardinals who went to bat against Steve Carlton yesterday would seem to support the Reitz position. Most of the players, including those who agreed that McSherry had sinned, seemed amused by the extension of the umpire controversy. They knew who was really responsbile for their failure.
“I’VE FACED CARLTON when he threw harder," said Keith Hernandez, the first baseman who shared the National League's MVP award with Willie Stargell last year and was hitting.412 after a 3-for-3 night against Philadelphia pitching Tuesday. "But he had a nasty, nasty, nasty slider today. He was on the outside corner all day long. He made me look sick the first three times up."
Hernandez lined a double to left in the Cardinals' ninth. "He was pitching differently with an eight-run lead." Hernandez explained. "I finally got a fastball.”
Kenny Reitz had three of the four hits managed by the Cardinals over the first eight innings, boosting his average for six games to.526.
"I never did feel comfortable at the plate, though." he admitted. "None of the balls were hit that well. This is a team that has great hitters, and you saw how many pitches we swung at and missed. That tells you something.
"Truthfully, I never saw a slider like that. If he's gonna be able to throw that way all year, then I wont be surprised to see him in the no-hit column some night."
NOR WAS KEN BOYER unimpressed. "Carlton doesnt need the kind of help he got from the umpire." the St. Louis manager said.
“The way Steve was throwing, nothing else that happened in the game really made much difference," Ken Reitz had pointed out earlier.
Parlaying these post-game comments with the events that preceded them, one begins to suspect that John McSherry was a convenient post-game dart board yesterday. He may have blown a call, but it hardly was the pivotal moment in a scrimmage dominated by Steve Carlton, the Phillies' splendid mute.
Possibly, Ken Boyer was even more offended by a continuing recitation of the ills that kept his club from running down the Pirates a year ago. The Cardinals' erratic performance at the plate thus far can be ignored... the team eventually will hit singles, doubles, and triples with anyone.
As for the starting pitching – often described as suspect – the Phillies' probably would be delighted to arrange an even swap, Carlton included. Pete Vukovich, Bob Forsch, and Silvio Martinez are excellent rotation pitchers, and John Fulgham – bothered by a tender shoulder at the moment – should one day soon develop into one of the league's most consistent winners.
BOYER'S THREE PROBLEMS last year were lack of power, relief pitching, and a recurring flaw in what should be an exceptional defense.
With the intent of providing a quick fix to the power problem, the Cardinals swapped talented, but temperamental, righthander John Denny for Bobby Bonds, the Marco Polo of baseball. Hired to clean up behind a quartet of 300 hitters, including Gary Templeton, Hernandez, and Ted Simmons, Bonds currently is swinging along at a.238 clip with no doubles, no triples, no home runs, and no RBI. Off the Phillies series, he doesn't look like he could hit a good breaking ball with a four-by-four.
You would be tempted to say that the relief pitching was not overpowering yesterday, since Bob Forsch' 5-hit, 2-run eight innings' was followed by the bullpen's 6-run, 6-hit ninth. Instead, the Cardinals talked like the Phillies had just beaten them in ping-pong.
"I felt I made good pitches," said Roy Thomas, whose problems included four hits, four runs, and John McSherry. "They had some bloopers that got down... today was a bad luck day."
"They got six hits, six runs, and haven't hit a ball good yet," said Ken Boyer. "But you'll never know that by the box score, will you ?"
DON HOOD, WHO replaced Thomas and allowed the final two runs (both unearned), said nothing, but could be seen flinging garments at the floor as he meditated in front of his locker. Hood also relieved in Bob Forsch's first start, against the Pirates, and was the loser that night, also on an unearned run, which brings to mind item No. 3.
Despite his formidable new contract, potent bat, and exceptional range at shortstop, Gary Templeton remains the defensive ouch. His throwing error lost the game that Hood was trying to protect for Forsch last Friday. His throwing error made certain that Silvio Martinez, trailing Pitsburgh by 1-0 at the time, would lose to Pittsburgh 3-1 on Sunday.
Yesterday – after playing brilliant shortstop throughout the two games – with the Cardinals down 5-0 to the Phillies and two away in the ninth, Templeton nonchalantly approached a bouncing ball that most pony leaguers could field and nonchalantly hobbled it.
"HOW MANY RUNS scored after that?" Ken Boyer later asked, the answer being three. For romantics, the Cardinals would have had the tying run at the plate had the score been 5-3 in the bottom of the inning.
"It was the most simple play in the world," Boyer admitted, but about the time you begin thinking that maybe templeton, and Bonds, and the relievers were the ones who had caused their manager such distress. Ken returned instead to John McSherry.
"I'll go to hell thinking he blew that play." Ken Boyer said, on a day when, instead, the only place be and his Cardinals went was back to the bottom of the standings.
4 Win Tickets
There were four winners yesterday in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest. In the eighth inning of the Phillies-Cardinals game, Louis lzzo of National Park, N.J., won $35 plus four reserved tickets on an RBI single by Bake McBride. Jamie Yates of Newtown, Anthony Rossi of Woodlynne, and Carmela Marciano of Vineland, each won four tickets to a Phillies game.
So far this season, the Daily News has paid out $370.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 67.