New York Newsday - August 17, 1980

Swan:  No Pain, Just Another Loss


By Gary Binford


Flushing – Since Craig Swan vanished from the Mets lockerroom even faster than the Phillies batted him out of yesterday afternoons game, the task of delivering the favorable news was left up to Mets manager Joe Torre.


"He felt fine physically, Torre said of Swan, who had been on the disabled list since July 16. "But his location wasn’t good at all. He threw good in the first inning, but after that, he seemed more concerned with his mechanics, he was a little lethargic. But there was no physical problem, that’s the big thing. He’ll be out there again whenever his turn comes.”


The Mets lost their third game in a row to the Phillies, 11-6, and as poorly as they played, Swan throwing without pain gave Torre something positive to talk about.


Many other Mets were not around long enough to say anything. And those who did stay in the solemn lockerroom couldn’t supply answers to why the teams fielding suddenly has turned shoddy and why the pitching has given up 27 runs in its last three games. "No comment, usually talkative second baseman Doug Flynn said, politely. "I need to think about it a little bit.”


“We don’t play the way we’ve played, shortstop Frank Taveras muttered. "What can I say? Its part of the game. Sometimes you’re gonna play like that.”


The Mets officially were charged with a pair of errors, both by third baseman Joel Youngblood. But they committed many mental and physical miscues that rapidly turned the crowd of 23,514 against them. Things started off well in the first inning, when Swan resembled the pitcher the Mets so desperately need, getting Lonnie Smith and Pete Bose on infield grounders and striking out Mike Schmidt with an overpowering fastball.


In the second inning, Swan resembled the pitcher the Mets placed on the disabled list with a muscle strain behind his right shoulder. Manny Trillo’s second home run in two days gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead and elevated Swan's club-leading home run yield to 19. Two singles and Youngblood's error at third brought in another run, then Rose and Trillo singled in runs in the third inning.


The Phillies have always treated Swan rather rudely, owning nine wins in 11 decisions against him. Torre felt they got additional help yesterday. For instance, in the fourth inning, Boone went from first base to third on a bunt to Youngblood, a play on which catcher Alex Trevino should have covered third. Smith’s sacrifice fly brought Boone home, then Lee Mazzilli, playing with a spiked right heel, misplayed Rose’s catchable fly to center into a double.


Schmidt then hit his 32nd homer into the recently constructed picnic area beyond the leftfield fence, which knocked Swan out of the game and gave the Phillies a 7-2 lead. It was 11-2 after reliever John Pacella gave up four runs in two innings.


The Mets, who had scored two unearned runs in the second, earned two in the eighth on Mike Jorgensen’s groundout and Jerry Morales’ pinch double off Phillies rookie starter Bob Walk (9-2). Claudell Washington’s double, his fourth hit of the game, and Steve Henderson’s infield single drove in two ninth-inning runs off reliever Kevin Saucier.


It wasn’t enough. "We have no room for error on our club,” Torre said. "Either we play good or we play bad. We can’t play mediocre and win because we look bad.”