Philadelphia Inquirer - August 12, 1980
Darkness suspends Phils-Cubs game after 10
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
CHICAGO – When you play baseball at Wrigley Field, it matters not whether you win or lose. What matters is that you finish playing before it gets dark.
The Phillies and Cubs didn't do any of those things yesterday in the big leagues' only solar-powered ballpark. They didn't win, didn't lose and they didn't finish.
They got rain-delayed for an hour and 52 minutes during the second inning. After they'd played 10 innings, the sun began to set on the ivy- covered walls. And so the Phillies will pick up their first game of the post-Pittsburgh Cliff Dive era today in the top of the 11th inning, tied, 5-5.
Afterward, Dallas Green was asked how he knew what mood to be in after hanging around the park for seven hours and neither winning nor losing.
"I'm just going to be my usual pain-in-the-butt self," Green quipped.
Obviously, not a whole lot of good things can come of a day when you blow leads ranging from 5-1 in the fifth inning to 5-3 in the ninth. Especially, a whole lot of good things can't come out of it when that day follows three days of getting bludgeoned by the Pirates.
But Pete Rose thought about it. He thought about the pitcher (Tug McGraw) leading off when the Phils come up for the 11th this afternoon. He thought about another pitcher, the guy scheduled to start when the real game kicks off later on.
Pete Rose thought about that, and it started to add up to something good. Maybe.
"Wouldn't it be interesting," he said, "if you pinch-hit for McGraw, and then you bring in Carlton in relief?"
Hmmm, pretty interesting indeed. You could haul in Carlton for a sure shutout inning or two, score a quick run and suddenly you give Carlton a shot to win two games in one day. You can't get many more intriguing possibilities out of a suspended tie game than that.
It's intriguing all right. Except Green would sooner play trombone with the Blues Brothers than mess with it.
"Yeah, you pitch him in the first one; then he's gonna sit around about 30 minutes after the game," Green said. "No, sir. I'm not gonna take a chance fooling around with that kind of stuff. It's intriguing, period."
Green wants to win two today. But he doesn't want to win them enough to risk messing up his one thoroughbred arm for the last seven weeks to doit.
Actually, if Green had his druthers, he would druther have won one he had well in hand yesterday.
When the afternoon began, old Phillies assassin Lynn McGlothen was on the mound. But the Phils got to him for a run in the first and a run in the second, and seemed poised to let the inspiring presence of the Cubs and Wrigley Field drive away those Pittsburgh blues.
Then the rains came and almost turned yesterday's nongame into a September doubleheader. But after the grounds crew had rolled the tarp on and off about six times, they got started again and the Phils ballooned the lead up to 5-1.
But you could tell Phillies starter Bob Walk was having troubles – and not just from the fact he tripped over the first-base bag beating out an infield hit in the fourth. Walk also started to struggle on the mound.
Bill Buckner's RBI single made it 5-2 in the fifth. Walk balked in another run in the sixth. Then, when he got in trouble in the seventh, Green used Kevin Saucier to get the lefthanded-hitting Buckner and Ron Reed to get righthanded hitter Cliff Johnson.
Reed then rolled into the ninth pitching well. He fanned Steve Dillard for the first out of the inning. But Lenny Randle bounced a single into left, and pinch-hitter Mike Vail followed that with another single.
Green said he considered bringing in McGraw to pitch to Buckner, "but I just thought Ronny was throwing well, I knew it was tough to see by then and if Buckner gets a single I still need Ronny to face Johnson."
So he stayed with him, Buckner smoked a double to left-center and it was 5-4. Garry Maddox bobbled the ball in left-center, but the Cubs stopped Vail at third when he would have scored easily.
"I thought we were gonna pull it out when they stopped Vail," said Rose. "That was a big break for us. And we almost did win it."
They did because McGraw almost got pinch-hitter Barry Foote to hit into a bases-loaded double play. But his slow bouncer spun in and out of Manny Trillo's hands, they only got one out and so they will keep going today, McGraw (or whoever) vs. Bruce Sutter.
"I'd have liked to put that game away," said Green. "We had it. But tomorrow could be a helluva day. Maybe we can come up with two."
At least there were signs that the Phillies had snapped out of their listless Pittsburgh funk. They scored three runs with that old Pirate trick, the sacrifice fly. They also got three hits, including home run No. 28, from that noted former slugger, Mike Schmidt, previously seen going 2-for-two weeks.
"Hopefully," said Green, "we'll see that continue."
Schmidt crushed his 26th lifetime Wrigley homer off Willie Hernandez in the third, crushing a fastball inside-out into the bleachers in right-center. It was Schmidt's fourth homer of the year in Wrigley, his second off Hernandez and his third to right or right-center. He has hit zero to right in the non-Wrigley portion of the world.
"I think the only thing I do different in this park," said Schmidt, "is that I'm more apt to try and make contact rather than try and drive the ball. This is a park I just try and hit the ball in because I know I don't have to hit it that good to hit it out of the ballpark. And I know I don't have to hit it that good to drive it in the gap.”
Whatever he does, it might be the Phillies' one possible salvation if he starts doing it a whole lot more, beginning today. The one lesson of yesterday is that he just has to remember to do it before it starts getting dark.
Phils reactivate Christenson; Larson cools heels in Reading
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
CHICAGO – Ten weeks ago, when they were pulling bone spurs out of his elbow, Larry Christenson thought he was through for the year. He forgot that he was a quick healer.
Yesterday, the Phillies reactivated Christenson (3-0 when he went on the disabled list May 25). To make room for him, they sent pitcher Dan Larson outright to Reading.
"Yeah, I figured that was it for the year then," Christenson said yesterday. "But I heal very quickly. I'm a month ahead of schedule right now. I was shocked when I went to the doctor three weeks after the operation and he said to start throwing."
Dallas Green's original plan for Christenson was to use him in the bullpen at first. But Christenson voted "nay" to that.
"I just told him, 'I can't see how I can throw 20 pitches warming up and then go out and get a strikeout on a hitter when I need 20 pitches just to get loose,'" Christenson said.
So Christenson will start Friday in New York. Meanwhile, Larson was disconsolate about being sent out, and with reason. Larson was 0-5 in seven starts and four relief appearances, but his 3.27 earned-run average indicates that he wasn't really that bad.
He left two starts with the lead, and the bullpen blew them. He left another start tied. And the club hadn't scored a run for him in his last two starts.
"He asked me a legitimate question 'Why me?' " said Green. "I told him it was really a matter of numbers. I'm getting a pitcher back, so I had to get rid of a pitcher. With the role I'd used him in, he wouldn't get as much chance to work as some other guys."
Green would like to get him back in September. But to do that, every team in the majors would have to pass on him first because he is out of options.
NOTES: The Cubs scored one weird run yesterday when Scot Thompson made a wide turn at third after a Mike Tyson infield single. So Manny Trillo fired the ball to Mike Schmidt. Thompson then broke for home. But Schmidt turned to tag him coming back to third and nobody was there. Green said that Bob Walk should have yelled to Schmidt where the runner was.... Green said that he had not decided whether Tug McGraw would continue pitching when yesterday's suspended game resumes today at 1:05 p.m., to be televised.
Phillies show summer rerun
Tonight, if you are 1) up for some TV baseball, 2) not up to watching the Democratic Convention, and 3) wishing you could have watched the Phillies while you put in your day's work, Channel 17 has your dream come true at 8 o'clock.
The Phillies play Game 2 of their daytime series at Chicago today, and the game will be televised live at 1:05 p.m. (the early start is to allow completion of yesterday's suspended game) and will be rerun in prime time.
PHILLIES at Chicago (TV-Ch. 17; Radio-KYW-1060, 1:05 p.m.; replay on Ch. 17 at 8 p.m.)