Wilmington Morning News - August 27, 1980

Dodgers only cloud on Phillies’ horizon as weather worsens


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – News Item: All is not bleak after all in the topsy-turvy world of the Phillies.


Oh, sure, they battled their way to an 8-4 loss to Los Angeles last night in the sullen atmosphere of Veterans Stadium.


But when the fifth loss in seven games on this important homestand was history, Manager Dallas Green saw a silver lining in that dark cloud that has been hanging over South Philadelphia.


Come closer.


"Things aren't as bad as they seem to be," offered Green, who 24 hours earlier was reading the riot act to a reporter. "We're still only two games back in the loss column to Pittsburgh and we're still hitting the ball decently. We get some people to get 'em out and we play a little tighter baseball, we'll be OK."


Getting people out was the big problem last night.


Rookie right-hander Bob Walk, plagued by control problems, didn't get out of the third inning when the Dodgers scored four times to take a 5-1 lead.


The assault continued at the expense of reliever Randy Lerch. Dusty Baker blasted a two-run homer in the fourth and the Dodgers capped their second victory in a row when Ron Cey crashed his 19th homer of the summer off Ron Reed in the seventh.


The Phils, who outhit Los Angeles 12-10, had numerous opportunities against starter Rick Sutcliffe and reliever Joe Beckwith, but those fizzled. When Beck-with was forced to leave in the sixth inning because of a tender elbow and an injured right hand, Bob Castillo arrived and set the Phils down on just two harmless singles.


The Phils took a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Pete Rose and Bake McBride, followed by a walk to Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski's infield out.


With Los Angeles up 7-1, the Phils scored three times in the fourth and kayoed Sutcliffe. After that, they went quietly.


Jay Johnstone's triple in the third produced the game-winning run, while Dusty Baker, Rick Monday and recently recalled catcher Mike Scioscia produced the other three runs. Monday and Scioscia got their hits off Lerch.


In the fourth, with one down, Johnstone walked. Baker then homered to left field, his 25th blast of the year.


"We felt Paul Pryor was squeezing the strike zone on the walk to Johnstone," said Green, who had a run-in with the umpire the night before. "Randy threw a couple breaking pitches that were in the strike zone. I don't know why he can't get those calls and why the Phillies can't get those calls.


"A little thing like that can change the whole complexion of the game. If Lerch gets Johnstone, he can go all-out against Baker."


Oddly, the left-hand-hitting Johnstone normally would not have been in to face Lerch.


"I begged Tom Lasorda to let me get an at-bat against a left-hander," said the former Phils outfielder who is hitting .311. "I know he wanted Mickey Hatcher to get some at-bats, but I appreciated his leaving me in for that one."


Even though the Phils have stumbled on this homestand, Green feels the National League East race will go to the wire.


"I just can't see any team running away with it," he said. "Atlanta has beaten Pittsburgh twice, but we were unable to take advantage of the help."


The Phils remain in third place in the division, 3½ games behind the Pirates.


"We win one or two and they lose one or two and we're right there," said Green.


Walk, who entered the game with a. 9-2 record, was charged with five runs on four hits. He walked four.


"Bobby has had to struggle the last couple of games mostly because he has not been able to throw the ball over the plate," said Green. "When he first came up he had those problems, but it's just recently he has had control problems again. Maybe he's trying to be too fine. I'm going to talk with him and see if we can't get him back on track."


Walk, who lives a block away from the stadium, went home after he was kayoed. Then, after listening to the game on the radio, he decided to return to the stadium and talk to reporters.


"I don't know what I would change," he said. "1 don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe in the first couple of innings I was trying to be too fine, but later on I was just trying to throw the ball down the middle of the plate and could not do that."


EXTRA POINTS – Manny Trillo's hitting streak ended after 12 games... Pete Rose, who had the first-inning single, moved into fourth place on the all-time hit list ahead of Tris Speaker with 3,516... Larry Bowa moved into third place on the Phils' list for at-bats with 6,331... An official scorer's change in Monday night's game has taken away a sixth-inning error charged to Bowa and given Steve Yeager a hit... Yeager was unable to play last night because of an injured finger... Lonnie Smith has hit in 13 of the last 15 games... The Phils lead the series with the Dodgers 4-3... Steve Carlton tries again for his 20th tonight, facing Bob Welch.