Philadelphia Inquirer - August 7, 1980
Cards embarrass Phillies, 14-0
Get five off Walk in first
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
When a ball game is an hour old and you're down, 12-0, there are two ways you can react.
Either you have Ron Jaworski drop back and send Harold Carmichael on a fly pattern. Or, if that's the wrong sport, you hope some humongous rain clouds show up in a hurry.
Dallas Green was in that situation last night. And since he didn't have any wide receivers at his disposal, he chose to get nostalgic over Tuesday's collossal rainout.
"Where the hell was Bill Giles and his radar when we needed it?" Green muttered. Fortunately for all those within earshot, he was smiling when he said it.
Green and his baseball team got hammered, 14-0, by the Cardinals last night. And think how lucky the Phils were. Garry Templeton didn't even play.
Everybody knew last night's loss was bad. But sometimes it takes record books to tell you just how bad.
The record books tell us it was the second-most-lopsided shutout loss in Phillies history. The only one worse was in 1929 (16-0 to the Cubs). Templeton didn't play in that one, either.
The heretofore indestructible Bob Walk suddenly got destructible last night. Walk took 40 pitches to get two outs, gave up four hits and three walks to the first eight hitters, allowed Leon Durham to steal second standing up and had more people visiting him on the mound than attend White House cocktail parties.
"He was just high and wild," sighed Green. He didn't know what else to say.
He did concede that at least Walk (now 8-2) probably ought to be rested enough to come back Sunday and pitch the second game of the double-header in Pittsburgh. Until last night, the second starter Sunday was supposed to be a guy named Question Mark.
So that was one positive development. But it sure seemed like a lot of trouble to go to just to find a pitcher.
"I really didn't plan it that way," Green deadpanned. "I'm not going that good."
The Cards punctured Walk's balloon with seven hits and eight runs (seven earned) in two-plus innings.
Tom Herr (.176 coming in) led off with a triple. Durham singled him in and stole second when Walk forgot about him. Keith Hernandez walked. Ted Simmons (4-for-5, 4 RBIs) doubled in a run. George Hendrick walked on four pitches.
Walk then fanned Terry Kennedy with the bases loaded for the first out. And considering the way he has tip-toed through life on a tightrope his whole big-league career, there was at least a smidgen of hope at that point he might squirm out of it.
"That's why I left him in there," Green said. "I was hoping he would regain something the way he has in the past and come back and we'd be all right. Uh, he never got to that point."
Nope. Ken Oberkfell singled in two runs. Bob Boone made a wild pickoff throw trying to get Hendrick at third. That brought in the fifth run. Phillips (.196 coming in) walked.
Walk finally fanned pitcher Bob Sykes for the second out, snared Herr's liner to the mound for the third, blew the ball a kiss and staggered off. But when Hendrick, Kennedy and Oberkfell started the third with singles, Green gave up.
Phillips greeted Kevin Saucier with a half-swing RBI single to left. Sykes then bunted back to the mound. Mike Schmidt never saw Saucier's throw to third, missed it and two more runs scored (9-0). At that point Green conceded.
The Cards completed their second bat-around and led, 12-0, after three. Simmons doubled in the 13th run in the fifth off Warren Brusstar. Simmons singled in the 14th run off Dan Larson in the seventh. Of five Phillies pitchers, only Dickie Noles didn't allow any of the Cardinals' 16 hits.
At least Green used the occasion to let his imagination run amok. He let Saucier bat in the third, then sent Brusstar out to pitch. He put Keith Moreland in right, and Moreland actually threw out Durham at the plate after Simmons' fourth hit. Of such moments are managerial genius made.
The beneficiary of all that offense was Sykes, who was last seen sliding headfirst in the Vet Sea two nights ago. Sykes gave up just three singles and ran his record to 2-0, with 19 consecutive scoreless innings against the Phillies this year. He is 3-8, 5.57 against everybody else.
Sykes had no complaints about having a 14-0 lead. But these things aren't as automatic as everybody thinks, he said.
"My first game this year I was leading, 9-0 and 15-3," Sykes said. "Then the next thing I knew I was out of there. It ended up 15-13. So tonight I said to myself it was 0-0 all the way."
Sykes noted the Phillies' tendency to do a lot more swinging than taking. "You ask me," he said, "they come up there swinging even more than the Pirates. Most of them don't even have 'take' in their minds."
So he obliged them by throwing lots of strikes with four different pitches. And pretty soon it was all over, as painlessly as possible.
Sykes almost wasn't around to pitch last night – or any night. In June, doctors discovered a blood clot in his left shoulder. They removed it, but for a while it was thought he might never pitch again.
"After the operation, they couldn't find any pulse in me," he said. "So they were going to go back in and take a vein out of my leg and put it in my shoulder. They call that a bypass, and you can't pitch if you have a bypass."
But his pulse came back, and so did he. Still, when the J. R. Richard affair hit the news, he couldn't help but wonder.
"Six weeks ago I heard him complaining about a fatigued arm, and that was the first thing I thought of," Sykes said. "Especially because he never complained of soreness. I figured it was in his arm, though, not his neck. I haven't talked to him, but I sure wish him the best."
It’s Carlton and the Cards
The Phillies play the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:35 tonight at the Vet, ending their longest homestand of the season. Steve Carlton goes for the Phils in this one, which with the big weekend series at Pittsburgh starting tomorrow is more important than the average August game against a fifth-place club.
PHILLIES vs. St. Louis at Veterans Stadium, 7:35 p.m. (Radlo-KYW-1060)
Phillies Clinic at Lanier Playground, 29th and Master Streets, 1 p.m).
Phillies not giving up on Lerch
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Larry Christenson returns to the roster, somebody is going to become an ex-Phillie. And Paul Owens says it won't be Randy Lerch.
The Phillies vice president said yesterday it had crossed his mind that his troubled young lefthander might be better off someplace else – "but only from the standpoint of his mental attitude, the fans getting on him and everything. Yeah, I've thought at times it might be better for him."
But Owens said he'd rejected that theory, at least for now.
"It would be awful hard to give up on him at 24, 25 years old," he said. "You may have those thoughts at times. But that may not be the answer."
Owens said he will give Lerch the rest of the year to turn around his 3-12 start before he makes an evaluation of him. And the rest of Lerch's year begins Sunday, when he will start against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
"I'm not putting it all on one start," Owens said. "That wouldn't be fair. But I'm kind of anxious to see how he does. I've talked to him since his last start, and Dallas has. 'And I think we're going to see a different person."
Dallas Green said Tuesday he thought Lerch's problems were "all mental." And Owens said he agreed with that theory.
"I think he's just confused," Owens said. "He's not letting his arm go. I think he's lost 10 miles (per hour) off his fastball, and it's all mental. He's going bad, so he tries to aim the ball.
"We've told him, 'Don't try to be Warren Spahn. Just go out there and throw the son of a gun.'"
NOTES: Green conferred with Christenson and Owens yesterday on when Christenson will be activated and how he will be used. The problem with when is a rule stating that any player optioned to the minors cannot be recalled for 20 days. The Phils would like to just option somebody (possibly George Vukovich) and bring him back Sept. 1. But to do that, they have to make a move by Monday. And Christenson won't quite be ready by then. "He feels he's a week or 10 days away from being able to pitch in a game," Green said last night. Probably, they will just have to make a move and take their chances. Green also said Christenson had balked at the manager's plan to use him as a reliever temporarily. "He didn't like my idea, just as I expected he wouldn't," Green shrugged. "But I can understand that. If he honestly feels he can give me five or six innings, hey, I can use that, too." Especially with two doubleheaders coming up on this trip.... Green said he will not bring up pitching phenom Mark Davis (a Carltonesque 15-6 at Reading) in September. "He's 19 years old. It's his first real long year of pitching. He's having success. Let him enjoy it."... Garry Templeton broke his wrist two weeks ago and still led the league in hits (133) until three days ago. Templeton is at least 10 days away from being activated.... In case you were wondering why you can't find the Cards' Ken Reitz among the league batting leaders anymore, the reason is that Reitz is 44-for-215 (.205) since June 1, was 3-for-30 on the West Coast and is down to .271 for the year. Tom Herr played so well for the Cardinals on the Coast that he was in the lineup in place of Reitz last night. Herr played second, with Ken Oberkfell shifting to third.... Steve Carlton (16-6) will be on the mound tonight against John Fulgham (3-3).