Philadelphia Inquirer - April 22, 1980
Phillies blanked by Mets
Rose gets three of Phils’ 5 hits
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
He comes in the grand tradition of Dave Roberts and Joe Niekro and Pete Vuckovich and all those other people who consider it their singular purpose on earth to beat the Phillies.
He is Bertram Ray Burris, and he has done it again.
Why is Bert Blyleven 0-6 lifetime against the Phillies and Ray Burris 9-4? Why is Craig Swan 2-8 and Dave Roberts 10-4?
Some things you don't explain. They just are. And Ray Burris is.
Or he was last night, anyway, in the Mets' 3-0 victory over Steve Carlton at the Vet. Burris threw a four-hitter at the Phillies for 7-1/3 – and a one-hitter against everybody except Pete Rose (who has batted .700 against the Mets since Sept. 9, 1979).
But five outs away from a four-hitter that would have been his first shutout and first complete game since 1978, Burris couldn't make it any more. Apparently, the incentive of passing Ron Reed and Doyle Alexander on the all-time shutouts list (at nine) just couldn't sustain him.
The wrist Burris broke last September at Shea Stadium is also the wrist he uses to snap off all those breaking balls that drive the Phillies crazy. And that wrist got tired around the eighth.
Allen stays perfect
So when Burris walked Mike Schmidt with one out, Joe Torre sent for Neil Allen. Allen, fresh off allowing a seven-run inning against the Cubs, set down five of the last six Phillies for his fourth save. Allen thus kept intact his record of having saved 100 percent of the Mets' wins in the 1980s.
But the story of the night was still Burris, who used to make a shutout of the Phillies something of an annual event. The ex-Cub blanked those famous 101-game winners of 1976, and did it again in 1977. So last night was just like old times.
"Let's face it. If we're going to do anything, the Mets aren't supposed to beat you," said a philosophical Dallas Green.
"But hell, every now and then you're going to get a game where a guy pitches a helluva lot better than you. And every once in a while, you run against a guy who just throws his glove out and beats you. If you writers can figure that out, I'll take your job and you can have mine."
In his Wrigley Field days, Burris used to sinkerball and changeup the Phillies to death. But now that he's out of The House of Homers, Burris has added a new wrinkle – speed.
"He's throwing a lot harder now than he did in Chicago," said Larry Bowa. "Here the fences are deeper, so he can just go right at you."
"I think probably when he was over in Chicago, he probably faced more lefthand hitters," said Rose, who raised his batting average 55 points and still got it up to only .244. "So he tried to throw the sinker more to keep it away from them. If he throws the way he did tonight, he'll win a lot of games."
Despite their problems with Burris' confusing mix of off-speed stuff, slick sliders and tough fastballs, the Phillies did have their chances. They left 10 on, stranded Rose at third twice and had men at second in three other innings. But all their best chances came with two outs.
Burris fanned Mike Schmidt in the first with Garry Maddox on second and did the same to Larry Bowa in the fourth with Greg Luzinski on second. Maddox bounced to third to end a second-and third, two-out rally in the third. And Bowa and McBride nailed line-drive outs to kill chances in the sixth and seventh.
"Tonight's as good a game as I've ever seen him pitch," said Rose. "And I've seen him pitch some good ones. The three hits I got, I'm sure if he had to do it again he'd take his chances on all three pitches. They were all pretty good pitches."
Even with Burris spinning those shutout innings, the Mets still had to score off Carlton to win. And that wasn't easy the way the Phillies were playing defense behind him.
In the first two innings alone, Maddox stole a double from John Stearns in right-center, Bowa made a backpedaling, tumbling stab on Lee Mazzilli and Bake McBride ran down a Steve Henderson shot at the wall.
Luzinski later threw out Joel Youngblood at second trying for a double. And Maddox later saved a run in the ninth with a transcontinental sprint to right-center to rob Frank Taveras of a triple.
But the Mets got to Carlton for a run in the fourth when Stearns and Youngblood strung together hits, Stearns a single and Youngblood an RBI hit down the left-field line that would have been a double had he not coasted into second and allowed Greg Luzinski's throw to catch him. So who has the only two assists by a Phillies outfielder this year? Yep, the Bull, who had only three all last year.
The Mets came back at Carlton for another run in the fifth, despite some ingenious defensive work by Rose.
Elliott Maddox and Doug Flynn led of with back-to-back singles, and Burris tried to bunt them along. What he did was pop one up in front of Rose, who let it drop and got a force at third, taking Maddox off the basepaths. Oh well, Frank Taveras drilled the pitch through the shortstop hole, and the Mets got the run anyhow. Ron Reed gave up the final run in the eighth.
"Lefty will win 90 percent of those games," Green said. "If he keeps pitching like that, Cy Young won't know what the hell it's all about.
"He didn't have the greatest slider he's had. But Lefty can keep you in a ball game. And he kept us there tonight. Two runs should beat this team."
But maybe not when you're messing with the fates. Not only is Burris predestined death for the Phillies, Carlton has lost more games to the Mets (26) than any other team.
Cy Young probably doesn't know what that's all about, either.
NOTES: Averages on the last road trip: Schmidt .364, McBride .333, Boone .316, Luzinski .300, Aguayo .286, Bowa .278, Trillo .267, Maddox .250, Rose .167.... Tonight's game will be broadcast on WWDB because KYW will be doing play-by-play on the Jimmy Carter-Ted Kennedy matchup.... Paul Owens says Kansas City has expressed some interest in Rawly Eastwick, although they want Eastwick to go to Triple A first. The Phillies' only stake in helping to place Eastwick now is that it would save them from having to pay all his salary the next three years.
Sports in Brief
NEW YORK – The Phillies, Boston Red Sox and California Angels are each represented by eight players on the official All-Star Game ballot. Phillies on the ballot are first baseman Pete Rose, second baseman Manny Trillo, shortstop Larry Bowa, third baseman Mike Schmidt, catcher Bob Boone and outfielders Greg Luzinski, Gary Maddox and Bake McBride.