Wilmington News Journal - August 24, 1980

Giants prey upon ‘nonchalant’ Phillies


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Dallas Green didn't say it. in so many words, but the Phillies' manager would be quite pleased if his multi-talented players would glance at a calendar occasionally.


What they would see is that the chase for the National League Eastern Division title is rounding the turn for home.


The Phils, who a week ago were getting back in the race, stumbled again last night, bowing to the suddenly surging San Francisco Giants 6-2.


This one wasn't pretty.


Alan Ripley, joining a long list of junk-ball specialists who torment the Phils, put them down on seven hits and rubbed it in when he drove in two runs in the decisive sixth inning.


Ripley, who has won five of his last six decisions, has a 3-0 record against the Phils this year. He has allowed just one earned run in 21 innings against them. Both runs last night were unearned.


But despite Ripley's expertise at handling the Phils mashers, the team did little to help its own cause.


Many of the 38,541 customers who pushed the Phils over 2 million in attendance for the fifth straight summer, had to be wondering what was happening.


Could this be the same team that tore through New York like a raging fire?


Even Green wonders.


"If I could explain how we turn things off like a faucet, I think we could correct what happens to us when we face Ripley, said the manager. "I can't figure out how we can play so well a couple of series and then all of a sudden go back to our nonchalant, non-concentrating, non-thinking baseball. That seems to be where we are right now."


After gasping to a 9-8, 17-inning victory over San Diego on Thursday afternoon, the Phils have dropped two in a row to the Giants and trail them in the season series 2-6.


Larry Christenson, making his second start since returning from the disabled list, suffered his first loss of the season in five decisions. But with better support, Christenson might have been able to get through the night.


"We're missing a lot of plays that we usually make," said Green. "And I don't mean just in the losses. It's happened in a couple of wins. We have overcome some mistakes which a good team will do, but we're right in the middle of a pennant race right now, I would think, and I would think we'd be concentrating a little better and thinking about baseball a little more."


A good example was shortstop Larry Bowa's failure to cover second base on a ground ball hit to Manny Trillo in the second inning when the Giants took a 1-0 lead.


"You'll have to ask Bowa why he didn't get there in time," said Green. "There was no reason for him not to Johnnie LeMaster is not a pull hitter."


And in the sixth, the Phils failed to pull off a double play, the kind that they normally make so frequently. Had they made it, Christenson would have been out of the inning with just one run crossing the plate.


"L.C. was getting his pitches up some, but we didn't turn the double play that I thought we should have turned," said Green. "Then, Larry makes a bad pitch to the pitcher and we're in trouble."


Somebody asked Green if he was going to start fining his players for their mental lapses.


"I'd be so damn rich I'd own the club," he said. "I'll tell you. That wasn't Phillies baseball out there tonight. I'm not very proud of these two losses.”


Ripley, obtained from the Giants from Boston in the spring, says he is gaining confidence with every start.  He threw 14 ground-ball outs.


"I just try to keep the ball from their power." he said. "I keep moving it in and out, trying to keep them off-balance.”


The Giants are 25-18 since the All-Star Game and have won 10 of their last 14 games.


The Phils, who were in second place a game and a half behind Pittsburgh three days ago, are now in third place, 3½ lengths back. The Pirates and Expos both won last night.


“We've got a good defensive baseball team," continued Green. "If you're concentrating, and you're thinking about the baseball game and what's going on, I don't think those mistakes will be made."


When asked what he thought the Phils have on their minds, he said, "I don't know. Maybe they're thinking about the Dodgers or the Pirates. Every play is important in a baseball game and we have a tendency to forget about that."


Christenson retired the first five Giants in order, but the defense let him down in the second after Mike Ivie doubled to center.


After Ivie doubled, Rennie Stennett walked and it appeared the inning was over when LeMaster hit a bouncer to the right of second base that Manny Trillo gloved. Bowa, however, was late getting to the bag and when Trillo realized he had no chance to get LeMaster, he threw wildly to first allowing Ivie to score on the error.


Larry Herndon's double, a walk to Evans and Milt Mav's made it 2-0 in the third, the Giants again scoring with two out.


The Phils, who wasted a two-on, two-out chance in the second, pulled even in the fourth.


With one down, Bake McBride reached first on Stennett's error and went to second on an infield out. Garry Maddox beat out an infield single and Bowa hit a flare down the left-field line that Terry Whitfield trapped, but the ball squirted away for a double, allowing McBride to score. After Bob Boone was walked intentionally, Christenson hit an infield single that allowed Maddox to score.


Lonnie Smith struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat.


The Giants, who moved above .500 (62-61) for the first time in over a year, put the game away with four runs in the sixth, knocking Christenson out.


Back-to-back doubles by Darrell Evans and May vaulted them in front 3-2, but better fielding by Smith in left field might have kept the score down.


After May's double, Ivie popped out to the shortstop and Stennett was walked intentionally to put runners on first and third. LeMaster forced Stennett at second, but Ripley sent a sinking liner to left and Smith tried to make a shoestring catch. He missed and the ball skidded past him, rolling all the way to the wall as two runs scored. Bill North's infield single brought home the sixth run.


EXTRA POINTS – North was ejected from the game by third-base umpire Eric Gregg after the center fielder was caught stealing in the sixth inning... Boone rifled a throw to Schmidt that caught North, but when he came up arguing, he bumped Gregg and was gone... The Phils hit into three double plays.