New York Daily News - April 22, 1980

Mets bounce back as Burris outduels Carlton 3-0


By Jack Lang


PHILADELPHIA – It was one of your classic “on any given day the worst team in baseball can beat the best pitcher in baseball" situations. Okay, so Steve Carlton may not be the best pitcher in baseball but he's one of the best and for the Mets to rise up and beat the big lefty, 3-0, as they did last night was totally unexpected. Especially after the way the Mets embarrassed themselves in blowing three games to the Cubs over the weekend.


But beat Carlton they did as Ray Burris and Neil Allen turned in a superlative pitching effort by holding the Phils to five hits. Burris gave up four of those and the only man he couldn't contain was Pete Rose, who had three hits.


"Joe Torre believes in me and he lets me go out and pitch," said Burris, who now is 2-1 and has put two good games back-to-back. Following his six strong innings against the Expos last week, the former Cub and Yankee went seven and one third innings last night before his right hand and wrist tired. The moment he walked Mike Schmidt with one down in the seventh. Joe Torre waved in Allen who retired five of the six batters he faced to pick up his fourth save.


IF ALLEN WAS still in a state of shock, over the blasting Dave Kingman gave him in Chicago last Saturday, he didn't let it show. The first batter he faced last night was Greg Luzinski, who he retired on a pop to the right fielder.


"I wanted to get in there tonight," Allen said. "You got to come back even though your ego and spirits are dropped. Anything after Saturday is a lift."


Allen confirmed that the Mets had another meeting before the game to discuss their three day nightmare in Chicago. Several players, he said, spoke up.


"The guys were down," he explained. "We all took a pretty good beating there. We embarrassed ourselves completely and I was one who helped embarrass us. A few guys got up and said we got to get our act together."


Torre referred to Burris performance as that of an "artist."


"You can't get much better than that son of a gun," the manager raved. " Especially at a time where we needed it. The only one he didn’t solve was Petey (Rose) and he was due to break out anyway.”


For Burris, this game and the one last week are a vindication that the Cubs and Yanks erred last year when they tried to convert him to a reliever after a lifetime of starting. He has proven he can still start and win.


"I would have finished except my hand and wrist began to tire," he said, holding up the right wrist he fractured last September. "I couldn't grip the ball properly.”


As for why he was so impressive against a team as strong as the Phils, Burris said: "I do my homework. I give myself a game plan and I go over it again and again in my mind. When I get out there, I stick to it.


"MY THEORY IS TRY to make them beat you. Don't beat yourself. I was consistent in keeping the first two batters off the base in every inning. That takes a lot of options away from the manager. I was concentrating on that all night."


Except for the first, when he gave Rose a leadoff walk, Burris did not let a single leadoff batter get on. And in six of his innings, Burris did not allow the second man on either.


After being held hitless for three, the Mets exploded for one run in the fourth on a single by John Stearns, an infield out and another single by Joel Youngblood.


Singles by Elliott Maddox, Doug Flynn and Frank Taveras produced another in the fifth. Then, in the eighth, Taveras singled, took second when Stearns was hit, was the front man on a double steal and scored on Henderson's force.

Problems, problems for Mets:  Falcone, Swan may miss starts


By Jack Lang


PHILADELPHIA – It is only the third week of the season and already the Mets are feeling a pitching pinch. Pete Falcone and Craig Swan are listed as doubtful for their scheduled starts this week.


Falcone, the only left-handed starter on the staff, has a pulled hamstring. Swan, the highest-paid player in the club's history, has a tight shoulder. Both may take their regular turns in Houston Friday and Saturday.


"Rube Walker is rejoining us tonight," manager Joe Torre said yesterday. "We'll wait and see what he says after he talks to them."


Walker, the veteran pitching coach, has been away from the club for several days, attending to personal business in Virginia.


DURING RUBE'S absence. Falcone was forced to leave Saturday's game after three innings, and Swan was removed after six on Sunday. Those were two games the Mets might have won had Falcone and Swan continued. Instead, both were lost when the bullpen failed.


Falcone's problem could be the more serious of the two. It is a lingering injury that just won't go away. The lefty first pulled the hamstring on March 28 in Bradenton, Fla., when he had his most impressive outing of the spring. He shut out the Pirates for five innings, then was bombed for six runs. It was Pete's last work of the spring.


A few days later the player strike began and Falcone went home. He worked out in New York but did not get the proper treatment for his injury. Consequently, he has been forced to leave both games he started in the regular season. He left after six against the Cubs at Shea 10 days ago and was removed after three last Saturday.


"It's deep, I can feel it deep inside," the pitcher says, grabbing the back of his left thigh. "I can't push off the mound with it. I have no drive."


TORRE IS MORE concerned about Swan's problem, as well he should be. Swan is his best. If anything happens to him, the Mets might just as well cancel the season.


"It's normal for him to have his shoulder tighten up occasionally," the manager said, "but I am concerned about him. I don't know if he will be able to pitch Saturday. We'll wait and see what Rube has to say after he talks to him. We did push him a little last Sunday."


Swan struggled for six against the Cubs, throwing a lot of pitches. He had only one easy inning when he struck out two, thus averting any possible misplays by the men behind him.


The Mets are kicking the ball around, you know, and even the manager admits "we're making too many errors." Even before Falcone and Swan emerged as problems, Torre admitted he would have to go to his bullpen for a starter in the finale here tomorrow night. It could be Mark Bomback or John Pacella, depending on what Walker decides.


BOMBACK, A 22 -GAME winner in the minors last year, has not been impressive out of the pen. Pacella has been. The Oakdale, N.Y., righthander has appeared in four games for a total of 6 innings without giving up a run.


"We've been trying to protect him a little bit trying to build up his confidence," Torre confides.


In other words, the Mets have not yet entrusted John with an important assignment. But they may have to tomorrow night if the pitching coach decides to give him his first start of the season.


If Falcone can't make it Friday night in Houston, Kevin Kobel will get his first start. His complaint is that they use him only in mop-up roles. Friday night could be a night for him to put up or shut up.



Torre has used six different lineups in first nine games... Mets guilty of 14 errors in first nine games. That's only physical errors they've been charged with. There have been others that went unrecorded... Phils will play series without Manny Trillo. Second baseman has sprained ankle... Phils scoring 6.25 runs per game but playing only.500 ball after eight games... Of John Stearns' 11 hits, six have been doubles. But catcher is not throwing well. He has nailed only three of 11 would-be base stealers... Mets pitchers, going against Schmidt Luzinski & Co., had already served up 17 home-run balls in nine games.