Sports Illustrated - August 25, 1980
Baseball- N.L. East
By Ron Fimrite
“You’ve got to stop being so bleeping cool. Get that through your bleeping heads,” yelled Manager Dallas Green between games of a doubleheader in Pittsburgh. His Phils (5-3) had just lost 7-1 to the world champions. Amused writers pressed their ears to the door of the clubhouse to hear the scathing attack. But the Phils didn’t go out and win one for the bleeper. They scored just one run in the second game- a Bake McBride homer- lost 4-1 and left town. “Just because we didn’t win doesn’t mean it didn’t sink in,” said Pete Rose of the bawling out. The next day the Phillies’ game in Chicago was called because of darkness, and when it resumed the following day, there had been plenty of time to digest Green’s message. Mike Schmidt, whose bat had been cool, regained his stroke, hitting three homers and driving in seven as the Phils won two of three. And then it was off to New York, where the Mets (3-4) had been waiting for revenge. Earlier in the year, Manager Green, never a reticent sort, had remarked that all you needed to beat the Mets was two runs. But these were the new Mets, who had just won two from those same Pirates. Came the test, though, and the Mets let fly balls drop, threw to the wrong bases and failed to cover the right ones. They scored a grand total of one runs in the first two games and lost the third 11-6. They also watched Rose become the fifth player in major league history to get 3,500 hits.
By the weekend the Pirates (5-2) and Expos (2-4) were tied for first place and the teams were in Pittsburgh for a mini-showdown. Montreal Manager Dick Williams tried to fire up his team, which had lost nine of its 11 games with the Pirates, by saying Manager Chuck Tanner had snubbed them in picking players for the All-Star Game. “We play scared against them,” confessed Shortstop Chris Speier. “I guess it’s the pressure.” Too true. The Expos failed to score after loading the bases in the first inning of the first game and got just three runs in two defeats to fall into second place by two.
For the week, Expo starters had an ERA of 6.28 and the relievers 5.85. “I was trying for the cycle,” said Expo utility man Tommy Hutton after a game in St. Louis. Unfortunately, he was pitching that night. “I gave up a homer, a double, a single; I walked a guy, I struck out a guy, a guy flied out and a guy grounded out,” said Hutton. “What more could you do in one inning of pitching?”
In that game the Cardinals (3-4) handed the Expos their worst shutout loss ever, 16-0. Even Bob Sykes, who gave up just four hits while pitching this, his second straight shutout, had a hit and drove in two runs. All week Cardinal pitchers were unusually menacing at the plate. Bob Forsch beat out a bunt and triggered a rally to beat the Expos 7-5. Pete Vuckovich got a single and a double and drove in two runs in a 10-9, 10-inning victory over the Cubs. Chicago (3-4) took the next two games from St. Louis, Bruce Sutter picking up his 25th and 26th saves. Both clubs rejoiced in the return of key players from the disabled list: Shortstop Garry Templeton to the Cards and slugger Dave Kingman to the Cubs. Templeton greeted Cub pitcher Mike Krukow with a smashing liner off his forehead. Krukow was taken to the hospital for X-rays. In keeping with baseball tradition, they found nothing.
PITT 66-50; MONT 64-52; PHIL 60-55; NY 56-60; ST. L 51-63; CHI 48-67