Wilmington Evening Journal - July 21, 1980
Phillies’ fielders slip under Brave attack
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
ATLANTA - Bob Walk gave it his "you can't win 'em all" shrug.
Dallas Green wondered what his outfielders were doing in the first inning.
And Lonnie Smith shouldered the blame.
And the Phillies were losing again, 3-2 this time, to the Atlanta Braves, who've now won three straight after losing eight of 10 since the All-Star break.
Walk was a loser for the first time in the big leagues, but he wasn't that surprised.
"I didn't think it was going to be my night, the way things were going early,” said Walk, now 6-1. "The Braves hit the ball a lot harder than the other teams did. They hit a lot of line drives. Even the outs were hit hard.
"Well, you gotta lose sometime. You can't win 'em all."
But for some loose play in the first inning, when Lonnie Smith let Gary Matthews' potential third out fall for a run-scoring single and opening the door for two runs, Walk might've fared better.
But the Phillies were not hitting very much against Larry McWilliams, managing just one baserunner with less than two out.
Green shrugged off suggestions that the Phils were in a team-wide batting slump. Instead, he credited McWilliams.
"He's a breaking-ball pitcher, a tough guy to hit," Green said. "We didn't get many fastballs to swing at. He makes you hit his pitch. That's not our favorite type of pitcher to go against."
"You can't expect to get a lot of runs every time," said Walk, in a shrugging mood.
Green, however, wondered why center fielder Garry Maddox took so long getting the ball Smith mis-played back into the infield, allowing Jerry Royster, who'd danced around third, to race home.
"The outfielder's got to get the ball back to the infield as quickly as possible," said the manager. 'Either run it in or throw it to Larry Bowa and let him run it in."
Instead, Maddox threw to second and Royster scored. That prolonged Walk's dilemma and another run made it worse.
Smith broke back, then started in on Matthews' two-out fly, then turned on the afterburners after realizing he wouldn't reach it Smith dove for the ball but it fell for a hit.
“Lonnie broke back on the ball or maybe he didn't see it," said Green. "A lot of people were having trouble with fly balls tonight."
And though it took a while to link in, Smith shouldered the blame. "It was my fault – I lost the game," said Smith, who had "no commented" earlier probes before a long, soul-searching shower. "I saw the ball all the way, but instead of catching it over my head, I tried to catch it on my side."
And wound up not catching it at all.
Bob Horner, who had homered in the first three games against the Phils and has hit 12 in his last 21 games, waited out a walk before Jeff Burroughs singled to center, coring Matthews.
"I pitched around Horner," said Walk. "I wasn't going to let him beat me."
The Phils got a run back in the second when Manny Trillo, Bowa and Bob Boone bunched singled with two out.
Trillo was making his first appearance in five games since jamming the middle finger of his left hand sliding in Houston.
“The hand feels OK," said Trillo. "It doesn't bother me when I swing the bat."
Green had feared rushing Trillo back into the lineup might cost him the batting stroke that had Manny leading the league when he was injured.
Atlanta added another run in the fifth and, but for Maddox' blanket coverage of center field, could have added a handful more.
Dale Murphy laced a ball over third that the bustling Smith tracked down in the corner and rifled to second, holding Murphy to a single.
Chris Chambllss laced a single to left and Walk was in trouble again.
Then Maddox went into his greyhound act First he flagged down Matthews' liner to right-center, turning an easy double into the first out as Murphy lumbered to third.
Horner promptly tested Maddox's speed to his right, ripping a gapper to left-center that Maddox turned into a sacrifice fly for the second out.
Burroughs kept the inning alive with a single to center that even Maddox couldn't reach but Walk got out of further trouble when ex-Phil Bill Naharodny flied to right.
The Phils got their second run in the eighth, with two out, naturally, as Trillo doubled home Mike Schmidt.
"This is not the end of the world," Green told the doomsayers. "We'll come back. Sure, this is frustrating, miserable, you name it. But we'll come back.
"This is worse than losing that double-header. This is the kind of game we have to grind out and win."
The Phils will try to change their luck tonight in Cincinnati where Green will reluctantly use Randy Lerch against the Reds' Mike LaCoss.
"I didn't have much choice," said Green, who'd banished Lerch to the bullpen for the second time this season. "I want to give Steve Carlton an extra day's rest and I needed a pitcher."
Another terrific vote of confidence for Lerch.