Chicago Tribune - August 13, 1980
Kingman’s return can’t stop Cubs from losing twice
By Dave Nightingale
IT SHOULD HAVE been a day for rejoicing, for unfurling the victory flags at Wrigley Field Tuesday.
The sun was never brighter, the Cubs went over the 1-million mark in attendance, and Dave Kingman came wandering back from his 33-day injury exile to break an 0-for-19 slump with a single and to drive home a run.
Two things happened to mar the day’s beauty, however:
· Mike Schmidt took his bat in hand.
· Steve Carlton took his glove in hand.
And when Philadelphia’s two principal Cub-killers get things together, nothing good can come of it.
Schmidt socked a two-run triple [his fourth hit of the game] in the top of the 15th as the Phillies scored an 8-5 victory in the five-inning completion of Monday’s suspended game to end a string of 10 straight road losses.
And Schmidt encored with a homer in the regular game as Carlton outdueled Mike Krukow 5-2 to run his 1980 record to 18-6.
IT SHOULD not be forgotten that Bake McBride’s infield single was the actual gamewinning hit in Tuesday’s appetizer; that a homer by Bob Boone was the decisive run for the Phillies in the main course.
It’s just that when you consider the career-long performances of Schmidt and Carlton against the Cubs, all other items seem to take a back seat.
Take Schmidt, for instance. Mike now has hit five homers in Wrigley Field this season – actually one more than Kingman has managed. Schmidt has 27 career homers in Chicago – more than 10 percent of his 264 career total.
“Remember that I do hit well in other stadiums,” said Schmidt, and with a season total of 29 homers, he could get no arguments. “I do well in Dodger Stadium; I’ve been struggling in Riverfront Stadium [Cincinnati] this year, but they never used to be able to get me out there.
“SO I’M TIRED of hearing all the ‘Schmidt and Wrigley Field’ garbage. But the truth of the matter is that I do well here because I just get the feeling everything is a little bit closer.
“And that helps me control my adrenaline. I don’t have to overswing to hit ‘em out.”
Schmidt admitted he and Wrigley Field came together at a propitious time this week.
“I wasn’t swinging the bat well for two or three weeks” he conceded. [Indeed, before coming to Chicago, he was batting only .188 since July 5 – the day injured Greg Luzinski went out of the Phillies’ lineup.]
“But I’ve only struck out a couple of times in my last 25 or 30 at-bats. And I felt I was coming out of my slump last week in Pittsburgh, even though the box scores didn’t show it. So, Wrigley Field came along for me at a time when I was starting to feel good again. And it all seemed to work out.”
AS FOR CARLTON, The Silent One recorded his 29th career victory in 45 decisions over the Cubs Tuesday.
“That guy can pitch,” said Cub Manager Joey Amalfitano, who can show only a 7-14 record since replacing Preston Gomez. “I’ve seen him walk out to the mound a lot of times during my career as a player and a coach and he always looks like he’s in complete command of things.”
Boone, who has become Carlton’s spokesman this season [following the retirement of Tim McCarver] and who admits he doesn’t care for the role, said Steve “pitched his usual game – he was very consistent, not as awesome as earlier in the year but he made the big pitch when he needed it.”
Like getting an eighth-inning double play ball from Kingman to quell a potential Cub threat after Boone’s homer of Krukow, McBride’s run-scoring triple, and Schmidt’s single had broken a 2-2 tie in the top of the inning.
THE ONLY CUB breakthrough against Carlton was in the last of the sixth when Krukow hit a first-pitch homer [the second of his career – both in Wrigley Field and both against the Phillies] and when Lenny Randle’s single, Ivan DeJesus’ double, and Kingman’s sacrifice fly provided a final run.
“We hit him pretty well that inning,” said Amalfitano. “Maybe Krukow’s home rattled him, but I guess you can’t really say that because Steve has too many good numbers behind his name to get rattled.
“At least his numbers indicate that what he did to us he has done to a lot of other clubs.
“And Krukow’s numbers [7-12] do not indicate what he has done for us. Mike pitched a whale of a game against Carlton today.”
The highlight of the day for the Cubs, if one can find highlights in a double loss, was the play of the Chicago defense. Steve Dillard, Mike Tyson, Randle and DeJesus made countless superb stops.
“WE SHOULD HAVE won the suspended game right away; there’s no way they could have put together the plays they did in that opening inning,” said Schmidt. “They had bodies all over the ground to stop us,” said Phillies Manager Dallas Green.
“Yeah, fine defense, that’s what we like,” said Amalfitano. “And we’d like to win some games, too.
“But what we like and what we get aren’t always the same thing.”