Philadelphia Inquirer - August 10, 1980
What is it in Pittsburgh that tortures the Phillies?
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH – It is hard to say what happens to them here.
It is hard to analyze why they leave home playing well, doing what they have to do to win, and then arrive in Three Rivers Stadium and put on that other face. You know the one.
Why have they lost 65 of 95 games here since 1970? Why have they not had a righthanded pitcher win here in two years and four days? Why have they not won any game here that Steve Carlton hasn't pitched since April 1979?
People go to the Phillies for explanations, and most of them just blink back emptily.
"This is a funny game, isn't it?" someone asked Garry Maddox yesterday.
"Not funny ha-ha," Maddox said.
The Phillies lost to the Pirates again yesterday, 4-1. That makes two in a row this weekend, eight out of 10 in Three Rivers since last August.
The losses are never the 14-0 kind, never the blowouts you forget. They are always the close ones, Ed Ott stuffing bamboo shoots up their fingernails, Mike Easier dripping late-inning water on their heads.
"We're always a hit here or there away. We're always in the games," Pete Rose said. "That's what makes it so discouraging."
"It's frustrating, no question about it,” Maddox said. "We'd like to go out and beat them. We'd like to go out and win. But it just seems like we only play them good enough to come in second."
They act as if it is some mystical phenomenon, almost something they can't control. But Rose doesn't think that way. He has seen these games wind up the same too many times. It happens, he said, because "we don't play very well against them."
"You play a team like them, you have to throw to the right base, run the bases, make the double plays when you get the chance, score when you get guys on third," Rose said. "When you play a good team, you've got to be extra aware of the way the game's got to be played. And this is one of the teams we don't do that against.
"I think our pitchers do the job. But we're our own worst enemies."
Pitching has sometimes been a problem for this team. But it is not the problem at the moment. The problem is an offense that only seems to go when Lonnie Smith and Rose get on at the top and Bake McBride knocks them in.
Other guys are having a hard time adjusting to the ways of grind-it-out offense. Not even the Pirates swing at as many bad balls as the Phillies. Friday's Pirates starter, Rick Rhoden, had averaged a walk allowed for every two innings. He walked nobody Friday. The Phillies make it too easy for guys like Rick Rhoden to beat them.
"There are two phases to hitting, in my estimation," Dallas Green said, "mechanical and thinking. We're pretty good mechanical hitters." Nobody but Rose, Smith and Mike Schmidt will take a walk. Nobody but Rose and McBride makes consistent contact when it's needed. You see Ed Ott getting key runs in with ground balls, and the Phillies' deficiencies suddenly seem awfully glaring.
"We've gotta come up with some spark somehow," Rose said. "I don't think this team's used to trying to win with race-horse type baseball. It never has in the past. They're, not used to scrambling. They always had so damn much talent they didn't have to scramble."
Well, they have to scramble now. They will throw Dan Larson-and Randy Lerch (combined record: 3-16) against the Pirates today. It is too early to say they have to win twice. But if they don't, they are a lot closer to saying it's too late.
NOTES: Because Bert Blyleven has a pulled muscle in his back, Don Robinson will start for the Pirates today, along with Jim Bibby…. Kevin Saucier, who almost threw a strike during an intentional walk Friday, actually did throw a strike during one yesterday. "If it happens once, you can say it's a fluke," Green said. "If it happens a second time, we're not thinking out there."… Green says Larry Christenson will start a game in the coming weekend series at New York.
Phils fall to Pirates, Candelaria
Drop 4½ games back as Tekulve seals 4-1 loss
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH – The big plays are always different, and yet they are always there, always going the same way.
The Phillies and Pirates start these Three Rivers duels so calmly, so orderly. The games are close. They appear winnable. But always, it seems, you know how they will end.
The mistakes, the calls, the twists of fate are always there, always the difference. And always you are looking back on them, picking the thorns out of another Phillies loss.
The Pirates dumped another one on the Phillies yesterday, 4-1. That makes two in two days, with two more games to go today.
The Phils are four games back of the Pirates now, 4½ behind the first-place Expos. If they are any more behind after today, they will be thinking back on critical moments. And yesterday there were a lot to think back on.
A big Phillies inning in the first almost happened and didn't. The Pirates got their decisive run in the fourth because Nino Espinosa walked Phil Garner intentionally to get to pitcher John Candelaria – and then walked Candelaria.
Lonnie Smith went one step too far around third in the fifth and got thrown out. Manny Trillo clearly beat out a sixth-inning bunt while it was still a one-run game – except ump Paul Pryor called him out.
And then suddenly the bases were loaded with Pirates in the seventh. A little Mike Easier fly ball here, a little Ed Ott contact ground ball there, and another loss was at hand.
Except there was one final Phillies shot in the eighth – two on, none out. But in stomped Kent Tekulve to throw two pitches. Garry Maddox ground ball. Trillo double play. See ya later.
"We just couldn't get anything generated," shrugged Dallas Green, still keeping up a calm front. "And the couple of times we did, an umpire reared its ugly head, and a double play reared its ugly head, and a base-running mistake reared its ugly head. When you're struggling offensively, these things will stand out like sore thumbs."
The Espinosa-Candelaria matchup was a rematch of a similar Saturday afternoon hookup, exactly one year and one week earlier. Candelaria (8-3 lifetime against the Phillies) won that one, too.
You could almost tell what kind of day it would be for the Phillies from the way that first-inning rally fizzled. Smith battled Candelaria as tough as you can battle and salvaged a walk out of an 0-2 count. Pete Rose lined a hit-and-run single, sending Smith to third.
The new No. 3 hitter, a guy named Mike Schmidt, got the run home with a fly ball to left. Easier threw to the wrong base, so Rose hustled to second.
That noted catcher-turned-right-fielder, Keith Moreland, bounced a 3-1 pitch into the shortstop hole and barely beyond Foli. All Rose could do was stop at third. But with first and third, a run in, only one out, this is when games have to be put away.
But Maddox did the one thing you can't do in that situation – strike out looking (Candelaria's only strikeout of the day).
"How many times have I struck out looking? Maybe twice the whole year?" sighed a frustrated Maddox. "That tells you how I'm going."
Trillo then bounced to Garner, and 1-0 was the way it stayed.
"First and third, one out, the fifth-place hitter batting, and all we get is one run?" said Rose. "They gotta feel like they just won a raffle coming out of that with one run."
And then the Pirates started back. Ott, hitting .418 against the Phillies this year, jumped on an Espinosa balloon and rammed it off the wall behind the wall in right. And it was 1-1.
The Pirates would have broken it open in the third except for a catch by Maddox that will rank with the best of his, or anybody else's career.
Two on, one out, a 400-foot line drive by Wilver Stargell. Maddox blazed straight back to the wall, gave it a Julius Erving leap, one-handed it and crashed off the wall.
"He came in and said he screwed it up, too," said Green, incredulously. "He said he played it into a tougher out than it was. I don't see how. It ranks up there high on my list, I'll tell you that."
But it held off the Bucs only until, the fourth. Bill Madlock pulled a leadoff triple into the left-field corner. Ott, incredibly, didn't get the run home. So Espinosa walked Garner on purpose to pitch to Candelaria.
All Candelaria was trying to do was bunt. "And that's exactly what I want him to do," Green said. "I want the guy to bunt, get one out and now we've got two outs." But Espinosa walked him, so the bases were loaded.
"Nino must have a fetish about that or something," Green said. "He did that at home the last time he pitched, too. He just loses concentration for a minute and he walks the guy."
So instead of ending the inning, Moreland's tough over-the-shoulder catch on Omar Moreno's liner to deep right only got Espinosa his second out. And Madlock scored. 2-1.
The Phils had two chances against Candelaria while it was still 2-1. One came in the fifth. Smith was on second. Schmidt was on first. Moreland was the hitter with two outs.
He pulled the second of his three singles into the shortstop hole, and Smith was off from second like he was running the 220. But Foli made a gut-busting dive and stabbed it. in short left. He looked up, saw Smith had burned too hard around third and got the ball to Madlock before Smith could get back.
"It's just a case of, the guy's got such good speed he's at the bag when Foli catches the ball," shrugged third-base coach Lee Elia, who tried his best to give Smith the stop sign. "He's going hellbent, because that's his nature, and he just can't get back. I don't know what to say. Little things like that just get so magnified when you're having trouble scoring."
Just as magnified was the call on Trillo's bunt in the sixth. Maddox was on first. There was nobody but. Trillo dropped it left of the mound and beat it out by a step. But Pryor didn't think so, and instead of two on, noneout.it was one on, one out.
"If Manny's on, it changes the whole thing," said Rose. "Larry (Bowa) bunts him over. Booney's up with second and third, and they walk him. Then we pinch-hit for Nino…. One play can make a difference in the whole game."
It can, but all it seems to do when the Phillies play in Pittsburgh is change around the details. The bottom line always seems the same.
You may need a scorecard for 1980 free-agent draft
By Allen Lewis, On Baseball
Although the list will undoubtedly be reduced by signings before the re-entry draft in less than three months, there are, at present, more than 50 major leaguers who are unsigned and may become free agents this fall.
The quality is similar to that of last year, when 44 players, only a couple of whom were top names, went through the re-entry draft.
"Outfielder Dave Winfield of the Padres and catcher Darrell Porter of the Royals head the list. There are others who have real value, such as pitcher Bob Forsch of the Cardinals, outfielder Dusty Baker and pitcher Don Sutton of the Dodgers, first baseman Willie Montanez of the Padres, outfielder Ron LeFlore of the Expos, pitcher Bill Travers of the Brewers, pitcher Geoff Zahn of the Twins, pitcher Ray Burris of the Mets and pitchers Larry Christenson and Tug McGraw of the Phillies, but, for the most part, the crop is composed of backup players with relatively low stature and big names who are well past their prime.
The latter group includes pitcher Gaylord Perry and first baseman Rusty Staub, both of the Rangers.
Winfield is asking $1.5 million a year in a long-term deal, and the best guess is the Dodgers will sign him. The Padres certainly won't.
The recent physical problems of Astros pitcher J. R. Richard may lower the amounts clubs are willing to guarantee to their stars in the future. If the big pitcher never wears the uniform again, the four-year, $850,000-a-year contract Richard signed prior to this season will still have to be paid in full.
NOTES: The hottest hitters after the All-Star break are George Brett of the Royals and Bob Horner of the Braves. Their batting styles are a study in contrasts. Brett stands away from the plate and strides into the ball. Horner stands almost on top of the plate and relies on his quick wrists to get around on an inside pitch. Future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson used the Horner way.... The Angels have a shot at winding up with the worst home record since the 162-game schedule was adopted in 1969. The Kansas City A's won on 26 of 81 in 1964, the Blue Jays 25 of 80 in 1977. Through Friday, the Angels had won only 18 in Anaheim, with 23 games left.... Look for the Dodgers to trade third baseman Ron Cey before next season, because they want to give Mickey Hatcher and Pedro Guerrero chances. If they sign Winfield, they may also deal rookie Rudy Law. Despite his big buildup this spring as another Willie Davis, Law is a liability in the outfield, especially because of his weak arm. All clubs are running on him, and the Dodgers have benched him.... After succeeding Preston Gomez as manager of the Cubs, Joey Amalfitano revealed that he had, before the 1977 season, turned down the job of managing the Giants because he would have been allowed to name only one of his four coaches.... Cubs general manager Bob Kennedy, whose financial hands are apparently tied by owner William Wrigley, said he fired Gomez because he didn't agree with Gomez' game moves. He said the Cubs may unload some veterans before this season ends. Look for the Cubs to trade Bruce Sutter in the offseason. The relief ace, who was offered $350,000 and got $700,000 through arbitration in 1980, says he won't sign for anything less for 1981, and will go to arbitration again if necessary.... One reason the Dodgers haven't done better is because, through Friday, they were 3-17 in one-run road games, and their bullpen was 2-17 on the road.
The answer to last week's Trivia Question: Outfielder Chuck Klein, posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame a week ago, hit 300 home runs in his major league career 243 for the Phillies, setting a club record that Del Ennis broke in 1956, when he finished with 259 as a Phil. Mike Schmidt broke that mark last month. Hal Lasky of Philadelphia was first with the correct answer.
This week's question (suggested by Ed Phetteplace of Philadelphia): What pitcher in this century hurled a no-hit, no-run game late in the season and, before the year had ended, was the losing pitcher when a perfect game was pitched against him?