Reading Eagle - August 15, 1980
Big Night for Schmidt!
Espinosa’s Got Good Stuff As Phillies Flog Mets
NEW YORK (AP) – It was a big night for Mike Schmidt but it might have been an even more important one for Nino Espinosa.
Schmidt smashed his 31st home run, a pair of singles and a double to drive in four runs as the Phillies stopped the New York Mets 8-1 Thursday night behind Espinosa’s five-hitter.
“I had the best stuff I’ve ever had on the ball,” said Espinosa, 3-3. “Besides my arm felt better than it has in months.”
Espinosa was sidelined much of the season with shoulder problems and was making only his eighth start for the pitching-poor Phillies. He got his first complete game with three strikeouts and two walks.
“He’s shown a lot of heart and he’s stayed with it,” said Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green of Espinosa’s performance. “In terms of arm strength and the type of game he pitched, it was his best game so far. He was a 14-game winner for us last year and we’d like to get him back in that area.”
Schmidt is on the kind of tear that makes him the terror of National League pitchers. He now has 12 hits in 19 at-bats and four of his 12 hits are homers. He raised his average to .275 and his RBI total to 83.
“I’m seeing the ball well,” said Schmidt. “The big key is when you get a pitch you can hit to hit it, not foul it off. I also think that they (opposition pitchers) look over in the on-deck circle and see a left-handed hitter hitting .310” said Schmidt of Bake McBride who also drove in a run for the Phillies.
“You know Schmidt’s hot now,” said New York Manager Joe Torre, “and we talked about that before the game. We didn’t want to let him beat us but it’s pretty tough when he comes up with the bases loaded.”
That’s exactly what happened in the third inning. Pat Zachry, 6-6 faced Schmidt with the bases full and one out. Schmidt promptly singled to left, scoring two runs and giving Espinosa all the margin he needed.
Schmidt doubled home another run off reliever Dyar Miller in the seventh and slammed his homer into the right field seats off Ed Glynn in the ninth.
“I wanted to bear down as much as I could in the last at-bat,” Schmidt said. “When the count got to 2-0, I figured he’s stay away from me and he did. I just threw the bat at it.”
Schmidt’s homer drew him to within one of the New York Yankees’ Reggie Jackson for the major league lead.
Espinosa had only two tough innings. In the fourth, the Mets loaded the bases on singles by Lee Mazzilli and Claudell Washington and a walk to Joel Youngblood, all with two out. But Mike Jorgenson flied to left.
SportopicS: Back From ‘Vacation’
By John W. Smith
What I learned during my summer “vacation”:
If you have a gall bladder which doesn’t work, it is a very good idea to get it out before it starts to hurt. I am a lot surer of that theory now than I was a month ago. Also, it is true that in the hospital they awaken you to ask if you want a sleeping pill. But at least that only happened once.
Observations more in the realm of sports, from reading a watching television while healing:
- Phillies lose four straight in Pittsburgh. The way they played in that series, it would be easy to write them out of the pennant race. But they’ve looked bad in Pittsburgh before (0-for-3 in September ’76, 0-for-4 in July ’77) and still survived. Of course, there was that o-for-5 in August ’79. Montreal looked as bad in Philadelphia last August as the Phils did in Pittsburgh, and bounced back to lose the race by only a hair.
The Phils, only three out in the loss column, play four more with the Mets this weekend while the Expos and Pirates meet in four. That makes for a key weekend. After Sunday, the Expos and Bucs still have five games left with each other; Pittsburgh has won seven of the nine they’ve played. The Phils have six left with the Expos and just four with the Pirates.
Umpiring in Bad Taste
- Umpires show that wounds from last year’s strike haven’t healed. One one Prism game from the Vet, Andy Olsen (ex- Eastern Leaguer) made an obvious bad call, costing the Phils a run, because he wasn’t in position to see where the ball hit. He refused to ask the ump who could see it better; that guy happened to be one of the “scabs” from last spring. The league office should have clamped down well before this on such attitudes, which can affect the integrity of the game.
- Larry Christenson returns to Phillies rotation sooner than anyone expected. Well, he’s had a lot of practice at doing that. And to think I almost laughed at Tug McGraw when he suggested Larry would be back for the stretch drive at a Berkshire Mall interview in June. Because of the bumping of Dan Larson for L.C., the Reading Phillies are strengthened for their stretch drive.
- Garden State Bowl doubles payoff to where it may rank sixth among bowls. We shall see whether money is more important than final exams and sunshine. Actually, the bowl lured a PAC-10 team last year with its paltry payout, nad that will be a lot tougher to do this year.
Good Job for Arnold
- Arnold Palmer hired to do public relations work for state (making commercials), at $50,000 for a week’s work. No wonder Arnold likes being a Pennsylvanian. But the guy still has to work 40 more hours than Jack Neal for the same pay.
- Orioles challenge Yankees in American League East. Everybody in the A.L. has to rejoice in that. For a time it appeared the A.L. would be as dead in September as it always is on a certain Tuesday in July.
- Republicans nominate former sportscaster for presidential spot. We in journalism should be honored; we haven’t hand anybody running from our profession since Warren G. Harding. That gives up two broadcasters with six letters in their first and last names who’ve got all the answers.
- Terry Bradshaw to end marriage to Jo Jo Starbuck. A few days after the announcement, a commercial for the Rex Humbard show urged viewers to watch it because they could learn about Terry and Jo Jo’s ideal marriage. Give Rex credit for some fast editing; the segment was excised.