Camden Courier-Post - August 21, 1980

Phils lose 5-run lead, streak ends


By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post


PHILADELPHIA – There's a shiny new clock in the office of Phils' Manager Dallas Green, and every once in a while it chimes a merry hello from the folks in Florida who gave it to him.


It's a shame someone didn't think to take the brass timepiece into the dugout last night. If they had, perhaps the Phils might not have watched their six-game winning streak end with a 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.


For this was a slumber party of sorts, a nine-inning get-together in which the idea was to let sleeping dogs (namely the hapless Padres) lie while the Phils tried to stay bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.


UNFORTUNATELY, Green used a sundial to try to gauge the effectiveness of starting righthander Nino Espinosa. And then watched in dismay as some last-minute dozing by the Phils ended like a scene in which Prince Charming's kiss turned a potential game-winning rally into a frog.


On a night when both the Pirates and Expos lost, the Phils missed a chance to trim the 2½-game margin separating them from first place.


The Phils were wide-eyed enough at the start, jumping all over Padres' starter Juan Eichelberger for five runs in the first inning. The six-hit attack featured a single by Lonnie Smith, a wild pitch, Pete Rose's run-scoring single, Bake McBride's run-scoring single, a single by Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa's run-scoring single, a stolen base by Bowa and a two-run blooper into shallow right field by Espinosa.


IT LOOKED like a dream come true. At least, it did until the third inning, when someone forgot to use the snooze alarm and the San Diego giant, Dave Winfield, got a rude awakening that he did not appreciate at all.


Singles by Luis Salazar and Winfield posed a minor threat in that frame. But, when Willie Montanez lined a single into right field, Winfield was caught running with his head down. He hadn't an inkling where the ball was headed.


In classic baseball fashion, both shortstop Bowa and second baseman Trillo assumed a posture that led Winfield to believe Montanez had popped the ball up in the infield. Completely "decoyed," Winfield turned around after reaching second base and began backtracking toward first base.


ALTHOUGH A run scored on the play, Winfield was eventually out at second and the rally died.


"Unfortunately, we should have let the big guy sleep," said Green with a shake of his head. "This turned out to be a team loss... starting with the manager on down... a team effort."


Winfield came to the plate again in the fifth inning with a runner on base and promptly slammed a homer over the right field fence to make it 5-3 against a struggling Espinosa.


"I KEPT hoping Nino would get them out," said Green. "You've got five runs to play with and you're rooting for a guy (Nino) to bust through and get a win. It's a tough area in which to make a decision. He almost got out of the inning anyway."


Almost doesn't count. Nino dropped a dribbled grounder in front of the mound for an error. Bowa also failed to come up cleanly with a grounder for the first of two fielding miscues by him on the evening. And, before you could say, "I should have gone to my bullpen sooner," the Padres had themselves a six-run inning and a 7-5 lead.


Having committed a total of four errors and managed just two hits during the seven innings following their initial rally, the Phils started to awaken in the ninth inning as pinchhitter Greg Gross cuffed a single into center field off reliever Rollie Fingers.


FIGURING THAT Fingers would give the righthanded hitting Lonnie Smith a tough time, Green sent Del Unser to the plate. He responded with a towering shot toward the wall in left-center field.


"I screwed it up. I don't know why, but I did," said Gross, who went only three quarters of the way to second base as he tried to determine if outfielder Jerry Mumphrey might catch the ball.


"Greg should have gone at least to second base," said Green.


"I've got to get to second," said Greg.


Unser almost ran up Gross' heels as the ball came ricocheting off the wall for what has to be the longest single of the Phillies' season. Hoping to make up for his mistake, Gross tried to run hard, tripped making the turn at second, and the Phils ended up with runners at first and second.


THAT'S IMPORTANT, because if the runners had reached second and third, the Phils would have had a golden opportunity to tie the game. As it turned out, Green figured he had to waste an out (Pete Rose) with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base.


Gross wasn't the only one caught napping in the execution department. Rose failed twice to make a proper bunt. Then, after fouling off two pitches with both runners on the move, Rose struck out swinging on a bad pitch. A quick throw to third nailed Gross, and the Padres had a double play.


"I had the runners going because Pete doesn't usually strike out," said Green. "He hardly ever fails to get the bat on the ball."


ROSE, WHO couldn't recall failing to deliver in similar situations all season, explained what happened, saying, "With the count at 3-2, Fingers threw me two hanging breaking pitches. I got good rips at them. I figure he's not going to walk me to fill the bases for Schmitty and Bake.


"But, sometimes in a situation like that you have too much confidence in a pitcher like Fingers. You figure he's going to throw a strike. I was revved up and chased a bad pitch. I couldn't believe it was down and out of the strike zone. I mean, you just hate to lose a game when you have a five-run lead."


This afternoon at 12:35, Phils rookie Bob Walk will take on former Philly righthander Rick Wise and the rest of the Padres at Veterans Stadium.

Brett’s chase of .400 saving A.L.


By Gary Stein, Gannett News Service


If American League owners got to vote for the Most Valuable Player this year, they would probably be unanimous in their choice of Kansas City's George Brett.


With seven weeks left in the regular season, he may be one of the few items of interest remaining for American League fans.


While the National League has the prospect of three-team races in both divisions all the way to the end, the American League has George Brett and little else.


Brett's pursuit of the magical .400 batting average, however, should be enough to pack stadiums wherever the Royals play. The fact that the Royals had the Western Division title sewed up by Mother's Day shouldn't deter people from coming out to see Brett in action.


The American League East is considerably closer, but it's still going to take a minor miracle for Baltimore to catch the Yankees – and part of the reason is the schedulemaker.


Following last weekend's big five-game showdown in Baltimore which really proved inconclusive, the Orioles and Yanks don't meet again the rest of the way.


And it will be tough for Baltimore to pick up ground for the next three weeks, since both teams play nobody but Seattle, Oakland and California until Sept. 7. The Orioles' only hope is to stay fairly close until then, with the possibility of getting some help from mediocre teams – like Boston, Cleveland and Detroit – later in September.


The National League contenders, on the other hand, won't have to look to other teams for help. The way the schedules are set up, each contender can just about control its own destiny in September.


NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST: Division-leading Pittsburgh and third-place Philadelphia are red-hot right now. Montreal is cooling off, but the Expos are still in great shape, just two games off the pace.


The Pirates and Phils figure to battle it out to the end. They are two evenly-matched clubs (both have a team batting average of .269), and both teams have plenty of veterans that are used to pennant races.


If the Pirates have an edge, it's in pitching.


Philadelphia has the dominant pitcher in the National League in Steve Carlton (19-6), but there are a lot of question marks on the rest of the starting staff. The Phillies are also depending a lot on rookie righthander Bob Walk, who is 9-2 but has an unimpressive 4.38 earned run average.


The Pirates' pitching is deeper, particularly with Bert Blyleven apparently back in form.


Righthander Jim Bibby is having a superb year (15-2, 2.83 ERA), John Candelaria is much better than his 8-12 record would indicate, and the Bucs have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball with Grant Jackson and Kent Tekulve.


Montreal, which has had trouble beating Pittsburgh the past two years, has to be considered a longshot.


The Expos play sharp fundamental baseball, but don't have the depth of the other two contenders – particularly Pittsburgh. Montreal has gotten good bullpen work all year from old timers Stan Bahnsen and Woody Fryman, and will need more of the same to stay in contention.


Montreal still has five games left with Pittsburgh and six with the Phillies, while Pittsburgh and Philadelphia clash four times in mid-September.


The edge here has to go with the Pirates.


NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST: Houston, Cincinnati and Los Angeles may play volleyball with the division lead until the first week in October, when the Astros and the season with a three-game series at Los Angeles.


Houston, despite the loss of J.R. Richard, has hung tough the last month. Like the Expos, they play good fundamental baseball and rarely beat themselves, although they don't overpower people either.


Nolan Ryan has come up with a couple of good performances lately, and the Astros will need a big September from him.


The defending champion Reds have one of the more underrated players in the league in Dave Collins, but they'll need big production from bombers like George Foster and Johnny Bench to make up for some thin pitching.


The Dodgers may be in the best shape of any contenders. They lead the National League in homers, and are getting big years from Steve Garvey and Dusty Baker (and Reggie Smith when he's healthy).


The Dodgers have the deepest starters in the division – people like Jerry Reuss, Don Sutton, Bob Welch and Burt Hooton – and a good bullpen led by Steve Howe and Bobby Castillo.


This one could go down to the last series with the Astros – and look for the Dodgers to make the playoffs.

Major league playoffs will open Oct. 7; Series, Oct. 14


NEW YORK (AP) – Major league baseball's postseason play will begin Tuesday, Oct. 7, with the league championships series and the 77th World Series opens one week later, Tuesday, Oct. 14.


The National League championship series will begin its best-of-five competition in the stadium of its Eastern champion Tuesday night, Oct. 7. American League play will begin in the home park of the Western Division champion on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 8.


The schedules were announced yesterday by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, AL. President Lee MacPhail and NL. President Chub Feeney following a meeting attended by 12 teams.


Teams represented from the American League were Baltimore, Kansas City, Milwaukee and the New York Yankees. National League clubs represented were Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, Montreal, the New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.


The World Series, which dates back to 1903 and has been played annually since 1905, will begin Tuesday night, Oct. 14, in the National League park. All games that will be held in the National League city will be at night, including the sixth and seventh games, if necessary.


The third game, to be hosted by the American League champion on Friday, Oct. 17, also will be a night contest.


The only day games scheduled will be Saturday, Oct. 18, and Sunday, Oct. 19, if necessary. The Sunday contest will begin at 4:30 p.m., EDT.


The day-night format of recent years will continue in the league championship series. The National League will play night games at the East Division site on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 7-8, and on Sunday, Oct. 12, if necessary at the West Division winner.


The American League, after its day opener, will play night games Thursday, Oct. 9, at the West Division winner, and Friday, Oct. 10, at the East Division champion.


The complete League Championship Series (all times EDT):


AL: Wednesday, Oct. 8, at AL West, 3 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 9, at AL West, 8:15 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 10, at AL East, 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 11, at AL East, 8:15 p.m., if necessary; Sunday, Oct. 12, at AL East, 4 p.m., if necessary.


NL: Tuesday, Oct. 7, at NL East, 8:15 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 8, at NL East, 8:15 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 10, at NL West, 3 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 11. at NL West, 4:15 p.m., if necessary, Sunday, Oct. 12, at NL West, if necessary. Friday's game will begin at. 3:15 p.m. if Los Angeles is the NL West champion.


The World Series schedule (all times EDT):


Tuesday, Oct. 14, at National League, 8:15 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 15, at National League, 8:15 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 17, at American League, 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 18, at American League, 1:15 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 19, at American League, 4.30 p.m., if necessary; Tuesday, Oct. 21, at National League, 8:15 p.m., if necessary; Wednesday, Oct. 22, at National League, 8:15 p.m., if necessary.


The game on Saturday, Oct. 18, will start at 1:45 p.m., EDT, if Kansas City is the American League champion.