Wilmington News Journal - August 16, 1980
L.C. makes triumphant return for Phils 8-0
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
NEW YORK - When Larry Christenson went under the knife on May 26, the Phillies figured he was finished for the year.
"There's a chance he might be able to come back at the end of the season, but that's all," said Manager Dallas Green. "Anything we get from him will be a plus."
Larry Christenson gave Green more than that plus last night as he pitched six superb innings as the Phillies pounded the Mets 8-0 at humid Shea Stadium.
Christenson, who had bone chips removed from his right elbow during that surgery in May, allowed just four hits and struck out five during umpteenth comeback.
A crowd of 40,436 brought once-deserted Shea Stadium to life, a mob that came to see a spectacular post-game fireworks show.
But it was the Phillies who supplied most of the fireworks last night. They hammered out 16 hits against four New York pitchers and were never in serious trouble after they took a 4-0 lead in the second inning against rookie nemesis Mark Bomback.
Bomback, now 9-4, bad defeated the Phils in his first two major-league starts.
Pete Rose, Larry Bowa and Lonnie Smith each collected three hits and Manny Trillo chipped in with his third homer of the year, a shot off reliever Tom Hausman in the eighth inning.
When Rose singled in the seventh, the usually unkind (to him) New York fans gave him a standing ovation. It was the 3,500th hit of his career. He came back to add another one to that total in the ninth, beating out an infield single.
But when it was over, the night belonged to Larry Christenson, who has been hampered by so many injuries during his career be can't remember them all.
"We had hoped to get five or six strong innings from L. C," said Green. "He gave us a lot more than that. He was outstanding."
"I felt strong," said Christenson, who now has a 4-0 record. "I had a good fastball. My breaking pitch was working and I kept them off-balance with my change-up. This was an important start for me. This has been a very frustrating season for me. I am happy to come back and get off on the right foot"
"His control was fantastic considering he had not pitched since May," said catcher Bob Boone. "He threw just about everything I asked him to throw. He was very sharp. His fastball was really popping."
"I knew all along I would be back before September," said Christenson. "I went to spring training in the best shape of my career. I think that helped me get back as quickly as I did. Now, I am really going to give it everything I can the next six weeks."
Christenson had two one-two-three innings and probably could have pitched the seventh, but Green refused to push his right-hander.
Tug McGraw, once a matinee idol in this ball park, worked the last three innings to gain his 12th save of the year.
"The pressure was on me," kidded McGraw. "I didn't want to screw it up after the job L.C. did."
The Phils, who have three more games remaining on this road trip, have now won four of their last five games since Black Sunday in Pittsburgh.
The Phils sent nine batters to the plate in the second when they vaulted in front 4-0.
With one down, Garry Maddox walked and raced to third on Larry Bowa's single to right. Maddox scored and Bowa stopped at second when Bob Boone beat out an infield single.
That brought up Christenson, who was ordered to sacrifice. L. C. dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Elliott Maddox scooped it up and threw wildly to first, allowing Bowa to score and Boone to take third. Boone scored when Lonnie Smith, who had three hits in four at-bats, ripped a single to left. Smith was thrown out trying to steal second with Rose batting, but Pete scored Christenson from third with a single to right.
Christenson, who retired the first seven Mets he faced, was never in serious trouble. He gave up a one-out single to Doug Flynn in the second, a leadoff single to Elliott Mad- dox in the fourth, a two-out single to Flynn in the fifth and a leadoff single to Frank Taveras in the sixth.
Manny Trillo, who has batted safely in eight of the last 10 games, put the Phils on top 5-0 when he blasted his third homer of the summer, a shot to the Phils' bullpen in left field off reliever Tom Haus-man. When Maddox and Bowa followed with singles, Mets' Manager Joe Torre summoned Dyar Miller.
George Vukovich's single brought in Maddox and the Phils continued their assault in the ninth, scoring twice off reliever Jeff Reardon.
EXTRA POINTS - Dave Raymond, the Phillie Phanatic, arrived here yesterday to prepare for his appearance during tomorrow's doubleheader... "New York fans are tough," said the Phanatic, "but I'm looking forward to this appearance"... Flynn, who had two hits off Christenson, is batting.351 over the last 21 games... Smith has batted safely in 16 of the last 21 games... The Phils will be out to balance this road trip at 5-5 today when Bob Walk (8-2) goes against Craig Swan (5-8)... In tomorrow's doubleheader, Steve Carlton (18-6) and Randy Lerch (3-13) will face Ray Burris (6-6) and Roy Lee Jackson (1-3)... Schmidt's home-run streak came to a halt last night... He had hit one in each of the four previous games... After 111 games last season, the Phils were 56-55, in fourth place, eight games out... Rose needs six more games to tie Honus Wagner for 11th place on the all-time list with 2,785.
Niggebrugge responds well to change in organization (excerpt)
By Matt Zabitka
In last Tuesday's column, Delawareans Sig Ettinger, Jody Ambrosino and Bill D'Onofrio graded Phillies Manager Dallas Green on the job he was doing. Green, a former Conrad High and University of Delaware pitcher, was given passing grades.
In response comes dissent from Gennaro J. Tedesco of 552 Greenhill Rd., Dover., who writes:
"I don't agree with you. I have watched every televised (Phillies') game and I think that he (Green) isn't doing a very good job. Plus I'm not to sure that he is doing the managing or Bobby Wine.
"I think that with the team he has had up until now, Danny Ozark would've had the Phillies in first place.
"I had my own business (or 25 years and never once did I embarrass an employee by screaming at him or calling him down in front of people.
"Green has contradicted himself many, many times.
"Yesterday (Aug. 11) was the last straw by not staying with Bob Walk (who was yanked after allowing three runs over the first 6.1 innings in a 10-inning 5-5 tie with the Cubs). Walk had helped him (Green) with eight wins.
"Just thought that I would let you know how I feel about Dallas Green."
M.Z. RESPONSE: I have to agree with letter-writer Tedesco. Green's continual harangues aren't in the best interest of the team. Too often Green, who had a reputation as a shy guy when he played high school and college ball, has displayed the subtlety of a meat ax. He has been quoted as saying that "we tried it the other way (Ozark's low key approach) and it didn't work" as justification for trying it his way – continuous vocal tirades. The question is: Will Green's way produce a National League East pennant, as the Phils accomplished under Ozark – three times?
Seems to me like Dallas Green is trying to become an instant Billy Martin clone.