Camden Courier-Post - August 18, 1980
Blitzing Phils sweep New York
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
NEW YORK – The destruction of New York, a project thought to be in the hands of the Democrats, was completed at a little after six o'clock last night.
It was done not by a throng of delegates jubilant over the renomination of Jimmy Carter, but by a handful of ballplayers intent on keeping the city's pennant fever from spreading out of the South Bronx.
The Phillies enthusiastically played the role of crazed bomber, their offense detonating for 40 runs and 71 hits in a five-game sweep of the Mets that was capped by yesterday's 9-4, 4-1 double-header victory.
THEY RIPPED three home runs in the first game to make Steve Carlton's 19th victory as breezy as a Sunday stroll through Central Park. And they gave Randy Lerch enough support for him to win for the first time since July 1 in the nightcap.
"The thing we did today," said Manager Dallas Green, "was hit when we had to. We got a big hit from Bake (McBride) and a couple big hits from Garry (Maddox). And Bowa's hit was a big hit. That was the one that put the icing on the first one."
McBride was the only player in the lineup who did not hit during the first three games of the series. He was 1-for-13 and seemed uncomfortable batting fourth behind Mike Schmidt. He managed to adjust in time to smash a two-run home run in the first inning off Ray Burris that gave Carlton a rapid lead. McBride later beat out a bunt single and doubled in a run before producing two more hits in the second game.
"When I think about a guy hitting fourth, I think of a home run hitter. And I'm no home run hitter," McBride said. "The first three garpes, I think I was trying to hit home runs. Today, I just went out and hit like I can, hit the ball where it's pitched."
MADDOX, TOO, hit the ball with welcome authority. The centerfielder has been struggling at the plate all season. Indeed, it got to the point where Green considered sitting Maddox down in Chicago.
"Garry and I talked about maybe him sitting down for three or four days and working with (hitting instructor) Billy (DeMars)," said Green. "Both of us thought it over and we finally said, 'The hell with it, it'll work out.'
"That's one of the better decisions I didn't make."
Maddox merely caught fire in Shea, going 10-for-21 in the series, 3-for-7 in the doubleheader. He slugged a two-run homer on a 3-0 pitch off Burris in the first game, then cracked another two-run shot off Roy Lee Jackson to give Lerch a 2-1 lead in the second.
BOWA'S KEY hit occurred in the fifth inning of the first game. He went to the plate with two out and two men in scoring position, and sent them both home with a single to right, giving Carlton a commanding 8-1 lead.
Lonnie Smith, meanwhile, had five hits in the doubleheader to make up for several fielding and baserunning misplays. His first-game adventures included playing a Doug Flynn double into a triple, misjudging an Elliott Maddox drive off the wall and trying to score from third on a ground ball to third base.
He was, however, less prone to error in the second game. Smith, who always looks like he's running on a freshly waxed floor, began a truly bizarre fifth inning with a single to left. Pete Rose followed by slapping a hit-and-run single to left, Smith deciding to attempt third base anyway.
Smith's mad dash toward third apparently befuddled leftfielder Steve Henderson, whose off-line throw caromed off Elliott Maddox and rolled toward shortstop for an error. Smith bluffed breaking for the plate, drawing an errant throw from Maddox that went for another error and allowed Smith to score and Rose to reach third.
Schmidt then scored Rose with a sacrifice fly for the final Phillies run and the last bit of work in the destruction of New York.
PHIL UP – Carlton will go after No. 20 Friday in Veterans Stadium against San Francisco... Schmidt has 17 hits in his last 35 at bats with five home runs and 13 RBIs to raise bis average from .255... Rose needs nine more hits to tie Tris Speaker for fourth place on the all-time hits list... Phils outscored Mets, 40-12, outhit them, 71-38, in series... Pitching matchups for Padres series: Dick Ruthven vs. Bob Shirley tomorrow; Nino Espinosa vs. Juan Eichelberger Wednesday; and Larry Christenson vs. Rick Wise Thursday.
Booming bats turn Phillies into different team
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
NEW YORK – Unlike Sunday a week ago, Dallas Green had no words – harsh or otherwise – for his players between games of a doubleheader.
"One thing I do know is when to keep my mouth shut... at times," Green said with a laugh as he leaned comfortably against a wall outside the visitor's locker room in Shea Stadium.
And yesterday clearly was one of those times. The Phillies had just continued their weekend-long mauling of the Mets with a 9-4 victory. A few hours later, they would finish their destruction of New York with a 4-1 win, giving them a satisfying sweep of the five-game series.
"I think," said Green, "they realized in Pittsburgh that they didn't play up to their capabilities. I think they realized if they were going to stay in this thing... they had to get their act together."
It was in Pittsburgh a Sunday ago that Green gave his players a blistering tongue-lashing between games of a doubleheader loss to the Pirates. The defeats put the finishing touches on a four-game Pirate sweep and, it seemed, all but erased the Phils from the National League East pennant race.
"The Pittsburgh thing worried me," Green understated. "But I saw some life in Chicago (where the Phillies took two of three). I think the team has come together quite a bit. We did not play well in Pittsburgh. We struggled so much offensively. We pitched pretty well, but we just didn't score many runs.
"I guess everything built up into these (last five) games. Hopefully, we'll level out and maintain the consistency we need to win."
The effect of the five victories here has been as encouraging as the losses in Pittsburgh were discouraging. The Phillies, who left Pittsburgh seemingly on the verge of collapse, have resurrected themselves and have kept the East a three-team race.
Having completed the road trip with a 7-5 record, the Phils begin a nine-game homestand tomorrow against the West Coast teams with an excellent opportunity to make up ground. They are, afterall, 20-7 at home against West Division teams. The Pirates meanwhile, play their next six games in Houston and Cincinnati.
"All we have to do is keep winning and hope somebody else beats them," said Bake McBride, who had five hits, including a home run, in the doubleheader. "After we left Pittsburgh, we just start hitting. And when you hit, you win."
When you take a series the way the Phillies took this one, treating New York the way Sherman treated Atlanta, the game of baseball does seem that simple. See the ball. Hit the ball. Run the bases. What could be easier?
In the first four games, the Phils pounded out 61 hits and scored 36 runs. That's nearly twice as many hits and five times as many runs as they got in their four games against the Bucs.
"I've felt all along that we're a streaky club, that we were due for a winning streak," said Green. "The thing that I like about my ballclub right now is that we're all starting to get healthy. Nino's (Espinosa) arm is getting stronger... L.C (Larry Christenson) gave us a fine game the other night..."
But the Phillies are getting healthy mentally as well as physically. Winning seven of their final eight games on the road trip served as a confidence builder.
"And they did it on their own," said Green. "I've said all along that they're the guys that have to swing the bat, catch the ball and throw the ball. I can't do that for them.
"Like today. I think we wanted a (series) sweep badly. The guys went out there a little tired – we're all a little tired – but they busted it. That's part of the character I've been talking about. We could have been satisfied with four out of five, but we went out and did it."
That's a far cry from what Green had to say a week ago. But, then, the Phillies team that left New York was a far cry from the team that left Pittsburgh.