Camden Courier-Post - April 21, 1980

Phils’ pitching wilts in loss to Expos


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


MONTREAL – The book on the 1980 Phillies was written on a medical report, inscribed during a winter when virtually the entire pitching staff was recovering from one injury or another.


Even during spring training, when some of the questionable arms should have been finding answers, the word on the Phillies remained the same: They would go only as far as their pitching would take them.


The accuracy of that premise was never more apparent than in yesterday's 7-6 loss here in Olympic Stadium to the Montreal Expos. The Phils, despite alert base running, excellent hitting and solid defense, have followed their pitching to a 4-4 record. Which is to say they've gone nowhere in the National League's East Division.


YESTERDAY, Lerrin LaGrow was brought in to protect a two-run lead for starter Randy Lerch with one out and two on in the seventh inning. LaGrow got out of the inning only after the Expos had tied the score.


Tug McGraw, who hadn't pitched in more than a week, was brought in to pitch the eighth with the Phils up, 6-5. The Expos tied it again, then won it in the bottom of the ninth when McGraw walked leadoff hitter Andre Dawson, who eventually scored the deciding run on Gary Carter's one-out sacrifice fly to left field.


An unhappy Dallas Green later assessed his bullpen, which – with the notable exception of converted starter Dickie Noles – has been consistently ineffective.


"We got to be able to hold leads," the manager maintained. "Our offense is doing everything they know how to do. We're getting two-out hits, we're moving base runners, we're hammering home runs. Offensively, we're doing everything we got to do to score runs.


"BUT THE pitchers have to give us a chance. The pitchers just have to buckle up and take part of the responsibility for what's going on with this team. We've all said that pitching's going to be the key. I've said pitching don't worry me, but we've got to start doing it between the white lines."


With the Phils leading, 5-3, Green waved LaGrow into the game to pitch to righthander Dawson, who had already homered and singled, in the seventh. Lerch, who survived a five-hit, three-run first, allowed two singles and a sacrifice bunt to set up the one-out, second-and-third situation. With the infield back, conceding a run, Dawson's ensuing grounder to third baseman Mike Schmidt was enough to score one run.


Ellis Valentine, who followed Dawson with a home run of his own in the first and beat LaGrow with a 10th-inning homer last weekend in Philadelphia, promptly punched a broken-bat single to left, tying the game.


The Phillies broke the tie in their half of the eighth when Greg Luzinski, who homered in the sixth off Montreal starter Steve Rogers, reached first on shortstop Chris Speier's second error of the game. Bob Boone singled, Larry Bowa moved them both over a base with a sacrifice bunt, then Luis Aguayo delivered a sacrifice fly to left.


AGUAYO, a rookie, started his first game at second base in Manny Trillo's stead. Trillo sprained an , ankle on Saturday and should be out of the lineup for at least a week.


So it was that McGraw had a 6-5 lead to work with when he took the mound in the eighth. McGraw allowed Warren Cromartie, the Expos' hottest hitter at the moment, a single before Speier laid down a bunt near the plate and right on the first base line.


Boone hurried to field the ball in hopes of getting Cromartie at second. Instead, the Phillies' catcher slipped and wound up throwing to first from his knees. Had Boone let the ball roll, it probably would have gone foul.


"I was trying to get out of the chute and I started to go down and I just grabbed the ball," said Boone. "You got to keep the guy off second and it (the ball) was close enough for me to get him, but I started going down and had to go to first."


McGRAW DID catch Bernazard looking at a third strike, but LeFlore followed with a bouncing single to center, again tying the game.


McGraw committed a cardinal pitching sin when he opened the ninth by walking Dawson and, an out later, Larry Parrish hit a soft line drive to center field that Garry Maddox attempted to catch on the short hop. The ball, however, squirted away and Dawson took third, setting the stage for Carter's game-winner.


PHIL UPS LeFlore robbed Schmidt of at least a double in the fourth with a sensational, wall-rattling catch in left... Reliever Warren Brusstar is to test his tender right shoulder today... Phils open a three-game series against Mets in Veterans Stadium tonight with Steve Carlton opposing Ray Burris... Dick Ruthven is scheduled to start tomorrow against Tom Hausman.