Philadelphia Inquirer - April 26, 1980
Vukovich, Cardinals beat Phils
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dallas Green took the gloves off last night. But, of course, he probably never had them on.
He had just seen the Phillies lose a 3-1 game to the St. Louis Cardinals at the Vet, a loss that drops his team a little further below the .500 level (5-7). More significant, however, he had just seen the Phillies lose to one Pete Vuckovich again.
Vuckovich is not an especially great pitcher. He is 44-34 as a major leaguer. But he's now 7-2 against the Phillies, 2-0 this season, and he has beaten the Phils seven straight times.
And so, once again, Green was fuming in what has become this manager's tradition.
"I don't want to hear any bleep," he said. "I heard all the bleep about how great our team is when it's together. Well, the bleep is out there. It's time to wake up and play like we can and quit making excuses for why we don't."
In short, Green doesn't understand why the Phillies go to sleep against Pete Vuckovich.
"Pete Vuckovich," Green said with disgust, "is he going to the Hall of Fame? Sure, he's a good pitcher. Sure, he beats us. But you don't mean to tell me we can't grind one out against him – if we're as good as we say we are."
In the process of going down the drain against Vuckovich again, the Phillies wasted a good pitching performance by Randy Lerch, who is still looking for his first win of 1980. He allowed just seven hits in going the full nine innings, but he did make two big mistakes a pair of home-run breaking balls to George Hendrick.
Hendrick rocketed bases-empty homers in the fourth and sixth innings, hitting Lerch's first pitch both times. His first blast was a massive one, landing in the first row of seats above the tarp over the 371-mark in left field. His second homer went roughly in the same direction, only lower.
That would be all the offense Vuckovich required.
The game almost became a very big loss in the eighth inning when Pete Rose hyper-extended his left elbow. The arm, his glove arm, was pinned back in a tag on the Cardinals' Tom Herr coming down the first-base line. Rose fell to the ground in pain, but he stayed in the game. He made the tag in time, too, of course.
"He's a tough bird, man," said trainer Don Seger. "But it (the arm) could stiffen up on him a little bit. I'll have to call him in the morning. But I remember John Bateman, when he was here, hurt his arm like that and hit one out the next day. It's hard to say."
The Phillies made it a 1-1 game by scratching out a run in the third. Lerch singled to open the inning, got to second on a fielder's choice and scored on Garry Maddox' double with two out. But then Hendrick, St. Louis' silent outfielder, gave the Cardinals a lead and a little padding.
The Phillies, aided by a couple of St. Louis errors, left runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and six innings. All told, they stranded 12 men.
Mike Schmidt, who came in on a 6-for-8 wave and hitting .356, was 0-for-3 against Vuckovich before grounding out to end the final rally, and the game, against Mark Litell.
"Pete Vuckovich doesn't pitch that tough," Green said later. "Christ, we're swinging at balls 90 percent of the time."
"I guarantee," Schmidt said, "everybody goes up there trying to adjust, trying to hit the ball up the middle. He just has a good motion, good spin on the ball, and he gets it over the plate when he has to. I mean, I'm a good hitter, and he got me out three times. I guess if we were 9-1, everyone would be saying, 'Well, it's early.'"
Well, it is early, but Dallas Green is saying something else.
NOTES: The Phillies have put second baseman Manny Trillo, who sprained his right ankle last Saturday in Montreal, on the 15-day disabled list. The 15-day period can be dated back to last Sunday, meaning Trillo will be eligible to play again on May 4. The Phils will call up Ramon Aviles from Oklahoma City.... Probable pitching pairings for the rest of the St. Louis series: Steve Carlton vs. John Fulghamat 7:05 tonight, Dick Ruthven vs. Bob Forsch at 1:35 tomorrow afternoon.