Philadelphia Inquirer - June 15, 1980
Carlton defeats San Diego, 3-1, striking out 13
By Lewis Freedman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Silent Wonder did it again.
Southpaw Steve Carlton, virtually unhittable all season, maintained that status last night, scattering six hits over eight innings as the Phillies bested the San Diego Padres, 3-1, last night at Veterans Stadium. And he even did it without his best fastball, according to his teammates.
It was a game in which all the Phils' runs came on homers by Mike Schmidt (his 20th) and Greg Luzinski (15th).
Carlton, who comes up just short of perfection each time he walks to the mound, and in the Big Stick tradition of Teddy Roosevelt would rather do it than talk about it, fanned a season-high 13 batters to lift his record to 11-2.
That is the most wins in the National National League, and Carlton is far and away the leader in strikeouts with 118; his earned-run average is 1.78 (second in the league among starters) and just about every game he pitches this year is worthy of being displayed in the Art Museum. It was also the 35th time Carlton has struck out 10 or more men as a Phillie.
"I can't imagine him pitching any better," said catcher Bob Boone of Carlton's current streak of six wins.
And it's the slider that's doing it.
"It looks like a fastball coming in," said Boone, "and it just explodes down. It's an unhittable pitch. It puts a hitter in checkmate."
Carlton needed to be on because the Padres' Steve Mura (0-2), who is about as well known as the Unknown Comic, was not as easily reached as the four San Diego hurlers of Friday.
Mura was a bit shaky in the first, walking the bases loaded, but got out of it, although for a while it seemed as if he'd pitch a Nolan Ryan Special – all walks and strikeouts. (He was taken out after seven innings, giving up seven hits and all the runs.)
The Phils put the first notches on the scoreboard in the third when Schmidt walked and Luzinski smashed one about 380 feet into the left-field stands for a 2-0 lead.
"He (Mura) just got a pitch out over the plate, a fastball," said Luzinski. "I haven't seen too many of those."
It stayed that way until the Phillies' fifth when Schmidt, leading off the inning, rocketed a 2-2 pitch to almost the identical spot for a 3-0 spread.
"It was a hanging curve ball," said ' Schmidt. "I'm not a good hard curve-ball hitter, but I hit that one. I'll take it. He's a good pitcher, I'll tell you. I wouldn't want to face him day in and day out."
Carlton showed his only sign of vulnerability in the eighth when singles by Aurelio Rodriguez, Ozzie Smith and Dave Cash brought Rodriguez home with the San Diego run.
Before that Carlton had given up singles in the first, fourth and fifth and hadn't allowed a runner past second base. He didn't walk anybody, but was replaced by Tug McGraw to mop up in the ninth.
McGraw mowed down Dave Win-field (strikeout), Kurt Bevacqua (fly to right) and Willie Montanez (grounder to short) to earn his fifth save.
The Phils had runners on first and second when manager Dallas Green chose to pinch-hit Keith Moreland for Carlton in the bottom of the eighth. He grounded into a force play.
"I made a change because I wanted to make a change," said Green, who plans to start Carlton Wednesday and Sunday in the coming week.
"I wanted to get another run or two. He was coming tip with his breaking stuff in the last inning he pitched. And I figured I'd steal an inning (of rest) where I can."
Carlton, as usual nowhere to be found in the clubhouse, dominated everyone's thoughts the way he dominated the San Diego hitters.
Both Green and Boone said the southpaw's fastball wasn't as sharp as usual, but, said Green, "He's got that gosh awful slider-breaking ball that equalizes everything. He's had so many good ones (games this year) I've lost count of-ihem."
Carlton is in such a groove-this year that he is not only provoking comparisons to his 1972 27-10 season with the last-place Phillies, but is becoming almost mystical in his unhittability.
"When he does make a mistake,"said Larry Bowa. "the hitters' eyes light up so much they overreact."
If his teammates are on the verge of knighting him, the Padres, were prepared to offer no less in tribute.
Padre manager Jerry Coleman has so much respect for Carlton he didn't figure his team had a shot at him until he tired.
If you're going to get him you're going to get him late,". said Coleman. This the Padres threatened to do, but couldn't quite pull off – for a reason. Carlton kept fooling them.
"We swung at 20 bad pitches tonight." sighed Coleman. "Minimum."
NOTES: Dick Ruthven will miss a start, according to assistant trainer Jeff Cooper, and maybe more if his bruised pitching shoulder, injured last night, doesn't stop hurting. The diagnosis has changed from sprain to ' bruise; X-rays were negative.... The Phillies will go over the million mark in attendance for the season today, a standard the Dodgers and Angels reached yesterday…. After batting practice, more than half the team was clustered around a TV in a lounge in the clubhouse watching the U.S. Open golf tournament.
No pitching help likely for Phillies
Phillies manager Dallas Green said yesterday it appears that the club will not make a deal before the trading deadline of midnight tonight, even though the team needs pitching help.
Green said that good pitchers are just not available. "I don't want people someone else doesn't care about. They may be able to walk out better than some guys I got, but they're not going to give us the pennant."
He said general manager Paul Owens had talked to about 20 teams but had not been able to reach a satisfactory deal.
Nino Espinosa, Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and Warren Brusstar are all hurting.
Christenson is on the 60-day disabled list and recently underwent surgery for removal of bone spurs from his pitching arm.
Ruthven, who underwent an offseason operation for removal of bone chips, fell on the point of his pitching shoulder in Friday night's game and may miss one or two starts.
Espinosa and Brusstar have been sent to the minor leagues to try to pitch through their problems.