Philadelphia Daily News - April 21, 1980
Phils’ Bullpen Blowin’ in Wind
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL – Faster than Dallas Green could say. "Get the bullpen up." a cold front sneaked down the St. Lawrence River yesterday and dropped the temperature 12 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Later in an afternoon of progressively lowering clouds, swirling wind and plummeting mercury, the Phillies' manager experienced a more subtle kind of chill. He watched his bullpen blow a 5-3 lead in the seventh and a 6-5 lead in the eighth. And he watched the game swirl away like a hot dog wrapper when Gary Carter's one-out sacrifice fly scored Andre Dawson to beat the Phillies, 7-6, in the bottom of the ninth.
Green watched the good, the bad and the ugly.
He watched starter Randy Lerch settle down beautifully after the Expos leaned on his overthrown stuff for three first-inning runs. That was good.
"HERM STARRETTE told me he had super stuff warming up," Green said after the Phillies blew a chance to win another series from the defensively shaky Expos. I think he was overthrowing, went out there and tried to throw it through a brick wall. I went out and told him, "Get your act together, we’ll get you some runs and get you a win."
He watched Lerrin LaGrow replace Lerch after the faltering lefthander started the seventh by throwing singles to Tony Bernarzard and Ron LeFlore and Cool Breeze Scott sacrificed them into scoring position.
LaGrow threw a wicked slider, down and away, to Ellis Valentine and the rightfielder broke his bat squibbing one to left which tied it. 5-5. That was bad. "Lerrin made some good pitches but he didn't come out of it too well," Green said. "It's the bottom line that counts."
He watched the Phillies scuffle a tough run off David Palmer in the eighth to take back a 6-5 lead. It vanished when LeFlore scored Warren Cromartie with a two-run single off Tug McGraw. The veteran lefthander set up the winning rally by walking leadoff man Dawson with a 3-1 pitch. That was ugly.
"YOU CANT WALK anybody, not in a game-winning situation, unless I tell a guy to walk 'em." Green said. "Tug knows that He didn’t want to walk the guy, and in fairness he hasn’t been out there in eight-nine days. But he's a professional paid to be out there in a game-ending situation."
Green is a pitcher's manager. He bleeds with them, empathizes with them and roots every pitch home from leg kick to catcher's mitt. He likes to think he knows what's going on inside their heads and their arms.
But he's also a guy who hates to see a winning effort wasted. And that's what the Phillies did yesterday.
"Offensively, we played the hell out of the game." Dallas said. "Cripes almighty, we've got to be able to hold a lead. The offense is doing everything they know how to do. We pulled the ball when we had to pull it, advanced runners, hit gappers, came from behind. Greg Luzinski's out there playing like he's 16 years old running around on the bases. Bake McBride's crushing the ball.
THE PITCHERS HAVE to buck up and take responsibility for part of what's going on with this team. They've got to start doing it between the white lines; they've got to go after them."
It was a full-brainer for Green, a game where he had to have both hands on the controls from the time Dawson and Valentine blitzed Lerch with back-to-back, first-inning homers through the ninth-inning moments of command decision.
After Dawson walked on a fastball high and away, Valentine seemed to help the Phillies' cause by blowing a first-pitch bunt sign. He fouled off a one-strike bunt attempt and struck out on a screwball.
McGraw didn't have the best luck, either, at this crucial juncture. Larry Parrish severely tested Tug's Frozen Snowball Theory by hitting a dying liner to center.
"If I stay back and play it safe, he's already on the (third base) bag," said Garry Maddox, who charged the ball, tried to make a gallant but difficult short-hop pickup and didn't come up with it cleanly. "The only way I can make him stop and hesitate is to go full speed, make him think I had a chance to catch it and get the short hop. It's a do or die play."
ORTHODOX STRATEGY in the bottom or the ninth would have been for Green to order a walk to Carter, loading the bases, and have McGraw go after the lefthanded swinging Cromartie.
The manager didn't like the chalk player's odds. Cromartie already had three hits, including the eighth-inning leadoff rope which greeted Tug. He is the Expos' hottest hitter – 15-for-31. Further. McGraw's screwball makes him more effective against righthanded hitters.
Spurning the Disaster Formation. Green played his infield at double play depth.
"Cromartie's the hottest hitter they've got and he certainly runs better than Carter." Green said. "Gary hits the ball hard and I was hoping he'd hit it hard on the ground and we'd turn a double play."
The manager would not have slashed his wrists if McGraw had walked Carter with his nastiest pitches. But Tug got a little too much of the plate with a breaking ball and Carter ended it with a fly to medium left.
Even if the strategy is debatable, the burden of proof remains with the pitcher. He's the only guy capable of getting his head out of the noose.
"We've got to stop looking for excuses to why things are happening." Green said. "I said all spring I didn’t think pitching would be the problem everybody seemed to think it would be. I'm sticking to that. I do think we're a better staff."
Bake McBride drilled a triple and single and drove in two more runs. Luzinski powered his third homer. Luis Aguayo, subbing for injured Manny Trillo, got the lead run home in the eighth with a sacrifice fly to LeFlore.
The Expos should be allowed to carry a 31-man roster – 25 players and six pallbearers for the dead arm they have in left field.
For the moment, though. Green has his own arms to worry about.
PHILUPS; Larry Bowa bounced out of his slump with two hits Saturday and a double and single yesterday... TV viewers probably wondered why Bob Boone fielded Chris Speier's short eighth-inning bunt just as it was rolling foul. The catcher seemed to be handing the Expos a sacrifice on a silver platter. "When I charged it I thought I had a great shot at nailing the runner (Warren Cromartie) at second base," Boone said. "But my feet got out on the soft clay, I started going down and my instincts took over. I should have let it roll foul." Actually, it's not that bad a play. There's a school of baseball thinking that says when a team is bunting for a tie, you should take any out you can get. Cromartie scored the tying run on Ron LeFlore's single.
Trillo on Crutches
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL – Manny Trillo, whose broken left wrist last season was the first snowflake in a blizzard of injuries to the Phillies" starting lineup, is on crutches.
The second baseman, leading the Phillies with a .417 average in the early going, sprained his right ankle Saturday during the Phillies' 13-4 blowout of the Expos. Manny was rounding third in the third inning and slammed on the brakes when coach Lee Elia flashed a stop sign.
"He's got a pretty good sprain there, uh huh, swelling pumps up and down, um hmm, little tenderness in there," said trainer Don Seger after Trillo received a no-fracture X-ray report. "I think we're looking at next weekend, uh huh, but he could be able to try it in a day or two. Didn’t seem to pick up much extra swelling overnight, all right"
Luis Aguayo replaced Trillo and collected his first major league base hit and RBI with a squeeze bunt in the Phillies' six-run ninth inning and contributed a single and sacrifice fly in yesterday's 7-6 loss.
12 More Winners
There were 12 winners over the weekend in the Daily News Home Run Payoff.
In yesterday's seventh inning of the Phillies-Expos game, Antoinette Gordon of Drexel Hill won $75 and four reserved seats on a Garry Maddox RBI-double and Martin Weiner of Philadelphia won $10 and tickets on a Bake McBride single. Stan Zemaitis and Ethel Sizer of Philadelphia and Jack Kiely of Bryn Mawr each won tickets.
In Saturday's third inning, Floyd A. Haskins of Philadelphia won $60 and tickets on a two-run single by McBride. Anthony King of Philadelphia, Vince Cocciolone of Woodbury, N.J., and Joe Giampalmi of Aston each won $10 and tickets on singles by Manny Trillo, Larry Christenson and Pete Rose. Anthony Duranti and Carole Downey, each of Philadelphia, and James G. Cochrane of Drexel Hill won tickets.
So far the Daily News has paid out $2,670. To enter, simply send in the coupon that appears on Page 65 of today's paper.