Philadelphia Inquirer - August 19, 1980
It’s K.C. in AL West, but races heat up in other 3 divisions
By Associated Press
With seven weeks left in the regular baseball season, pennant races in both leagues are beginning to crystalize with three of the four divisions promising exciting stretch runs.
Only in the American League West, where Kansas City is rolling comfortably atop the division 14½ games infront, does the race seem settled.
In the AL East, Baltimore has come on to challenge the New York Yankees. If those teams go down the stretch, they will be doing plenty of scoreboard watching. That's because they finished their season's business last night in Baltimore and will not meet again the rest of the way.
The Orioles won that final game, 6- 5, to move within 2½ games of the Yanks.
Both teams headed west after playing each other eight times in 11 days. They will tour Seattle, Oakland and California before returning home Aug. 28 to entertain the same three West Coast clubs. That's a 19-game stretch against the West for each the Orioles and Yankees, and it carries them through Sept. 7.
A five-game sweep of the New York Mets has thrust the Phillies in the midst of the National League East division race, battling Montreal and Pittsburgh for the top. The Phillies moved to within 3½ games of the first-place Pirates over the weekend and have won seven of their last eight games after being swept in a four-game series by Pittsburgh, Aug. 8-10.
The Phillies begin a nine-game homestand against the West tonight and then go west for series in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. That takes them through Sept. 7, and after that it will be all East Division opponents the rest of the way.
Cincinnati is in the midst of a homestand against East teams and will play Pittsburgh seven times in the next two weeks. The Reds' last month includes five games at home against Los Angeles and Houston, a three-game series in Houston and three more games in L.A.
Sweep a 25-year first
You can stop searching through your old scorecards and yearbooks for the last time a Phillies team swept a five-game series. It was a quarter-century ago, and a hint of just how long that has been is contained in the names of the winning pitchers – Murray Dickson, Robin Roberts, Saul Rogovin, Curt Simmons and Jack Meyer.
The sweep was over the Cincinnati Reds in July of 1955, in Connie Mack Stadium, and Richie Ashburn was the hitting star, going 10-for-21 in the series. The Phillies won the final game, 5-3, despite three home runs by Gus Bell.
NOTES: Dick Ruthven (10-7) goes against Rob Shirley at 7:35 tonight when the Phils open a nine-game home stand with three games against San Diego (the last visit of the year for the three West Coast clubs). A Phillies win tonight will match their season high of six straight wins and will put them 10 games over .500 for the first time this year. The Phils are 4-1 against the Padres this year.... Lonnie Smith is five stolen bases away from tying Ashburn's club rookie record of 32, set in 1948.... Juan Eichelberger goes against Nino Espinosa tomorrow night and Rick Wise opposes Larry Christenson in Thursday's 12:35 p.m. Businessperson's Special.... Mike Schmidt hit .472 last week with five homers and 13 RBIs.... Coach Lee Elia will be honored by the local Albanian community, represented by St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Albanian Church before tonight's game.