Philadelphia Inquirer - August 28, 1980
Carlton holds off Dodgers for No. 20
Rose RBI lifts Phils to 4-3 win
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Another win to Steve Carlton is normally like another buck to Exxon. A lot of them have gone by over the years.
"Usually," Dallas Green said, "Steve just accepts his wins like another notch on the belt."
But some wins mean more than others. Last night against the Dodgers, Carlton was taking his second shot this year at win No. 20. Even to a guy who cares more about Pinot Chardonnay than numbers, No. 20 means more than the others.
So, although he was about to be pulled for a pinch-hitter, Carlton found himself a prime spot in the dugout in the bottom of the eighth and watched as the Phils took one last stab at winning it for him. The showers could wait. He wanted to see how this one turned out.
What he saw was Pete Rose (3-for-S) knocking in the run that won it, 4-3, with a hit-and-run ground ball. Then he stuck around to take in Tug McGraw saving it for him with a 1-2-3 ninth that included two strikeouts and a TKO of Bill Russell for an ironic final out.
Then Steve Carlton (20-7) popped out of the dugout and shook the hand of every man on his team.
"I think if you saw him shaking all his teammates' hands and acknowledging the fans like that," Green said, "you wouldn't have to ask whether this meant something special to him."
And so, Carlton had wrapped up his 20th before the end of August for only the second time in his career. The other time (1972), he finished 27-8, and the Cy Young award voting was a formality.
With Jim Bibby and Jerry Reuss both 15-4, it won't be that automatic this time. But Green doesn't see how anybody deserves it more than his guy.
"In terms of innings pitched (238), strikeouts (232), what he's meant to his team," the manager said, "I don't think there can be anybody close."
Like so many of the first 19, win No. 20 didn't come easy. The Dodgers got a run in the first. Bob Boone's RBI single tied it in the second. A bad-hop double by Mickey Hatcher got LA. another one in the fourth. A rare Steve Garvey error gave Carlton a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Ron Cey tied it in the sixth with his 20th homer, however, and Carlton had to pitch out of tough jams in the seventh and eighth.
But Larry Bowa led off the bottom of the eighth by beating out a chopper to deep short. Bob Boone bunted him over, and Keith Moreland, pinch-hitting for Carlton, sent Bowa to third with a base hit to left.
Lonnie Smith went in to run for Moreland as Rose headed for the plate. Green watched intently as the Dodgers positioned their infield at double-play depth. He was thinking about going hit-and-run anyway. But that, he said, "helped make up our minds."
On the 1-1 pitch to Rose, Smith took off. Rose chopped a fastball off the Astroturf, and all Russell could do was take him out at first and watch the winning run score.
Green didn't fault the Dodgers for playing it that way.
"They know Pete can hit into a double play, too," he said. "They figure they get another shot at us, so they're going two-for-one.
"But when you've got Pete up there, you know he's going to get that run in there somehow. And the hit-and-run is one way you know the run's going to come in. You know he's going to hit the ball. And you know it's going to be on the ground."
Rose also reached through three rows of seats to stab a foul pop-up in the seventh. It was only one of a number of extraordinary defensive efforts by assorted Phillies behind Carlton.
Mike Schmidt saved a run (at least Pete Rose is out at third trying temporarily) with a diving Pete Peeters knockdown of a Joe Ferguson bullet in the fourth. Later, Boone high-jumped onto the dugout roof trying to nab Russell's ninth-inning foul ball for the game's final out.
"I don't like to say the guys get extra hyped up for Lefty, because you don't have to," Rose said. "He's just such a good pitcher, you love to play behind the guy.
"You know, I played behind Seaver, and I guess he's in Carlton's class. And Jim Maloney pitched a lot of no-hitters. But no one is as consistent as Lefty.
"He helps you with his bat. He helps you with his pickoffs at first. He keeps you on your toes. Only five or six pitches between innings. He even makes the ground crew hustle."
But above all, what Carlton does is consistently keep his team in every game. Just the way he worked out of a touchy first-inning mess last night was a prime example.
Lopes and Russell led off the game with back-to-back doubles. So it was 1-0, after 10 pitches, and the Dodgers had the formidable Baker-Garvey-Cey troika stalking up there, ready to crash it wide open in a hurry.
"And it was at a point when it really didn't look like he had that good stuff," Green said.
But down went Baker on a pop-up. Down went Garvey (0-for-the-series) on a bouncer to Schmidt. Down went Cey on a grounder to Bowa. It was still 1-0 instead of 4-0. And, routine as it looked, that's what wins games.
"He's done it every time," Green , marveled. "I guess when Lefty pitches, you just expect him to do what seems impossible."
Or at least he turns the impossible into the possible, which is why, even after a 4-5 homestand, the Phillies are only 2½ games behind the Pirates and 2 behind the Expos, and only one back in the loss column.
Phils-to-be offer preview
Here's a chance for a baseball preview. Three Phillies of the future, all scheduled to be wearing big-league uniforms next month, will be in action tonight as the Reading Phillies of the Class AA Eastern League host the West
Haven White Caps at Reading Municipal Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
The Little Phillies, battling for the second-half title, will send their No. 1 pitcher, lefthander Mark Davis, against the Oakland farm team. Davis (18-6 with 181 strikeouts in 185 innings), outfielder Bob Dernier (.292 with a league-leading 68 stolen bases) and catcher Ozzie Virgil (27 home runs, 102 runs batted in) have been notified to join the Philadelphia Phillies at the conclusion of the Eastern League season Saturday.
Reading Phillies vs. West Haven, Reading Municipal Stadium, Route 61 and Center Avenue, Reading, Pa., 7:30 p.m.
Round 2 goes to fired-up McGraw
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was one out to go in the ball game. And it had come down to Tug McGraw vs. Bill Russell – The Rematch... The Thrilla in South Phila.
Tug McGraw stood on the mound in the ninth inning last night, looked at Bill Russell and felt the emotion all over again. The last time he had looked at Bill Russell, back on Monday night, Russell was about 12 inches away and preparing to launch a right hook.
The brawl that followed, the fastball McGraw had buried in Russell's buttocks, that was all behind him last night. But not so far behind him that Tug McGraw couldn't hear the footsteps.
"Yeah, there was definitely added pressure this time," said McGraw, after he had gotten Russell on a bouncer to second to wrap up his 14th save.
"I felt like a fool the other night. I lost control, of my temper, of everything. There's nothing I can say or do to rectify that. It happened. That's all there is to it. I was embarrassed. I felt like a fool."
"But what can you do? You just have to go out there. What's that they say? If you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler? Aw, I don't know."
What McGraw did know was that he didn't feel that his stuff last night was as good as it looked.
He went 3-and-2 to leadoff hitter Jay Johnstone, then pumped a fastball by him for one out. He went 3-and-2 to Davey Lopes, then powered a rising fastball past him, too.
"I couldn't tell you whether it was a strike or a ball," McGraw said. "But it was too close to take.... When it's 3-and-2, guys are thinking extra-base hit or home run. So when they get that high fastball up there, it looks awfully good. They don't want to take it for the third strike."
Then along came Russell. He bounced an 0-2 fastball to Manny Trillo. And the Thrilla in South Phila. was over.
"I felt decent," McGraw said. "But I was still kind of a head case from the other night, when I was totally out of line. I haven't been able to get that off my mind.
"I'm always hyped up when I pitch. I guess sometimes that's an adverse thing, too."
NOTES: If that lineup the Phillies ran out there last night looked a little strange, it should have. For the first time since June 24, 61 games ago, the Phillies started the eight players who were in there Opening Day.... Lonnie Smith got his first turn as the odd outfielder out in the four-man rotation system last night. "I'm still just going by my mood and the mood of my players," Dallas Green said.... That mysterious character helping out the Vineland Singing Ambassadors on their version of "Tomorrow" from Annie last night was none other than fabled tenor Jay Johnstone.... The Phillies-Pirates game at the Vet on Tuesday, Sept. 9, has been transformed into an NBC-TV game. So it will start at 8:15 p.m. instead of 7:35.... Phils are off today, and begin their 11-game California circuit tomorrow in San Diego.