Philadelphia Inquirer - June 21, 1980
Giants’ Ripley shuts down the Phillies, 5-1
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO – Among the Phillies' favorite places to play, Candlestick Park would rank somewhere just below the Snyder station of the Broad Street Subway and the Mekong Delta.
The Phillies are 3-10 in Candlestick since 1978. When the wind gets to swirling and the thermometer gets to sinking, the Phillies find it a lot easier to shiver than win. And last night, they shivered their way to a ragged 5-1 loss to the Giants.
"I guess you could say we were flat," said Dallas Green after his team was undone by such unheard-of phenomena as Garry Maddox missing a fly ball. "But the only reason we were flat is that it was about 40 degrees.
"This is a gosh-awful place to play," said Green. "I hate to complain about conditions, but I don't see how you can play 80 games in this place and then expect to be a pennant contender on top of it."
One guy you wouldn't expect to be shocked by a little burst of Candlestick wind is Maddox, who started his career in Candlestick and played there for three years. But it's one thing to play there every day, said Maddox, and another to venture in six games a year.
"When I played here I got to the point where I knew it was going to be like that – cold every night, the wind blowing," Maddox said. "I didn't know any other way. It was home, you know. But to leave and come back, phew. It's definitely a difficult park to play in."
The Phillies were trailing by only 2-1 when Jim Wohlford lofted one through the jetstream to Maddox in the sixth. He cruised back, tried to one-hand the ball and it somehow hit off the back of his glove. It ultimately cost the Phillies two runs, and they never got back in the game.
The Phillies never got another hit off Giants starter Allen Ripley (2-1), who was last seen pitching in Philadelphia last week at 2 a.m.
Ripley is a rookie righthander who was unloaded by the Red Sox in April for offenses ranging from befriending Bill Lee to going home during the spring-training strike. Of course, the Red Sox only gave up 23 runs yesterday, so they don't need pitching help. Ripley fanned five with a big curve-ball. He allowed just two of the Phillies' seven hits after the third inning.
Phillies starter Dan Larson (0-2) got the loss, but he was still in it until Maddox's error. Lerrin LaGrow pitched the last three innings.
So the Phils have lost two straight after winning the first three games on this trip. Meanwhile, the Giants, in between trying not to get punched out by their manager, have won eight of their last 11.
The first strange Candlestick happening of the night came in the first. The Phillies actually jumped on Ripley for a lead.
The last pitch Ripley threw before last night was ripped for a homer by the Mets' Steve Henderson. Six days later, Pete Rose drilled his next one into right for a single.
Then Bake McBride bounced another single two pitches later, and the Phillies had a genuine rally. But Ripley, who fanned five Phils in 3 innings in the 3:11 a.m. Classic last week at the Vet, whiffed Mike Schmidt on a big curve, way outside. Then he did the same to Greg Luzinski.
But he bounced an 0-1 curve to Bob Boone, which allowed Rose to hustle to third. McBride didn't hustle anywhere, so he stayed at first. Boone then lashed a single to left, so instead of being 2-0 it was only 1-0.
That held up through three no-hit innings by Larson. The first of those innings was eventful nonetheless. Larson, who hadn't pitched since a June 1 mop-up job in Pittsburgh, managed to walk three Giants, allow two stolen bases and still get out of it scoreless.
Then he burned through eight straight batters before Milt May ended the no-hitter with a base hit through the right side. That was followed in quick succession by Jim Wohlford ending the one-hitter, Rich Murray ending the two-hitter and Johnnie LeMaster ending the three-hitter.
Fortunately for Larson, they were all singles, so it was only 1-1.
But it only stayed 1-1 until the fifth. Larson fell behind Jack Clark, 3-0, which meant he had to throw Clark his juicy fastball. This inevitability was not lost on Clark, who started the evening 7-for-his-last-10. He pounded the pitch about 390 to left-center for his 13th homer, and it was 2-1.
The Giants broke it open in the sixth, and they needed the very bizarre error by Maddox to do it. It was a three-base error, and one run scored. Then Murray chopped one about 100 feet up off the plate, and Wohlford scored. So they went to the seventh with the Giants leading, 4-1.
NOTES: A decision appears near in the Dickie Noles throws-the-bat caper. Noles, Dallas Green and Paul Owens met with National League president Chub Feeney before last night's game. Feeney said afterward he was taking the whole thing under advisement. The Phillies told Feeney, however, that if he does plan to suspend Noles, they would prefer he do so immediately. They have six games with Montreal coming up in the next two weeks, so that might have something to do with it.... Shoulder-sore hurler Warren Brusstar, still attempting rehabilitation for Class A Spartanburg, couldn't get through the fifth inning of an 8-2 loss to Durham. He faced four batters, giving up three hits and a walk, and getting none out.
Lefty’s still a power pitcher
By Bill Lyon
The wife of a young football coach asked her husband if he loved her more than he did football, and he said: "I love you more than 1 do basketball..."
At the age of 35, Steve Carlton is threatening to win 30 games, and he is in such splendid shape that all that flap in spring training about everyone running except him now seems silly.
Age has not diminished Carlton's velocity; indeed, his fast ball is swifter than it has been in years. And his slider is virtually unhittable, hissing and dipping so savagely that batters go for it even when it is puffing up dirt.
At 35, most pitchers switch to finesse and experiment with trick pitches like changeups, knucklers or screwballs in an effort to prolong their careers. But Carlton remains a pure power pitcher.
The man who knows him best says Carlton seems uncommonly serene this season.
"Steve really seems to have an inner peace about him," says Tim McCarver. "He's calmer, more relaxed, than I can ever remember. And his ability to concentrate, to shut out everything when he's on the mound, is unbelievable. It's like he's in another world."
Part of that may be attributed to Carlton's fascination with martial arts, particularly the mesmerizing, Zen-like mental exercises that are in tandem with the exhausting physical regimen he practices faithfully every day.
Then again, Carlton is a pragmatist, too. He has taken to stuffing cotton in his ears, when it's his start, for absolute insulation against the crowd. After all, who can lip-read a boo?
The average person will believe you if you tell him there are 3,565,862 stars in the sky. But he'll still check with his finger when he sees a sign that says "Wet Paint."...
As Carlton steams along and the Phillies keep hanging close, one disquieting factor remains: the rest of the pitching staff.
Dallas Green is juggling his pitchers as adroitly as a businessman who keeps two sets of books – one for the real profits and one for the tax people. But over a 162-game season a shortage of reliable starters is going to catch up with the Phils.
It is only a matter of time before the bullpen, called on to furnish spot starters and then provide four and five innings of relief every game between Carlton starts, is going to start feeling the effects of too much work. A bullpen that is overburdened all summer is not exactly an asset in the September stretch.
Middle age is when you step out of the shower and are glad that the mirror is all fogged up....
When Seve Ballesteros was disqualified from the U. S. Open for arriving late for his 9:45 a.m. tee time, his defenders tried to excuse away his tardiness by pointing out that he was in a different time zone.
Well, there is no athlete in the world who plays a more numbing, bewildering, jet-lag-splotched schedule than Gary Player, and he says he has never been late to the course because he takes all sorts of precautions.
"I leave a wake-up call, and I always carry two alarm clocks besides, and I put them in different parts of the room and far enough from the bed so I have to get up to shut them off," Player said.
"When I'm on the tour, my wife calls me every morning to make sure I m up on time, said Andy Bean. And then he grinned and added: "At least, I think that's what she's checking on."
Classified ad in an Arkansas paper: "Forty-year-old farmer wants 30-year-old wife with tractor. Please send picture of tractor....
Did you ever wonder how an athlete deals with the agony of waiting out the final hours before a championship event?
When he was on the verge of ending two years of winless frustration, this is how Jack Nicklaus said he passed the hours before the final round of the U.S. Open:
"I finished the third round tied for the lead, went out and hit practice shots until about dark, got home at 8:30, ate (veal) in a hurry so I could watch 'Dr. No' and then 'The Eyes of Laura Mars.' The next morning I watched six-seven Tom and Jerry cartoons with Michael (his youngest son), went outside and played catch with him, read a book for an hour, and went to the course."
But how did you sleep. Or could you?
"From midnight 'til 9, like a rock."
Luzinski feels the pressure
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO – The time: ninth inning Thursday. The place: San Diego. The situation: two out, nobody on, Phillies down a run. The count: 3-and-2.
Greg Luzinski looked out at Rollie Fingers, twirling his mustache, spinning the baseball in his right hand, peering for the sign. Greg Luzinski knew exactly what Rollie Fingers was thinking. He wasn't thinking about grooving any changeups Luzinski could mash to downtown La Jolla.
"A perfect example of what I've been going through," Luzinski said. "He's saying, 'I'm not going to make a mistake to him 3-and-2.' I'm saying, 'I want to hit this pitch out and tie the score. But he'd just as soon walk me."
Gave it a rip
Fingers unleashed a high slider, a good six inches from being a strike. Luzinski could have taken it and walked. But hitting behind him was Bob Boone, sagging along at .238, 2-for-his-last-12. So Luzinski gave it a rip. He swung. He missed. See ya later.
A lot of times in baseball there are levels to the game you don't see. It says on the stat sheets that Luzinski was 2-for-13 in his first four games on the West Coast. But the way guys hit is often determined by who bats in front of them, who bats in back of them, the various whims and quirks of their entire lineup.
"You've seen it on this whole road trip," Luzinski said before last night's Phillies-Giants game. "The Dodgers did it. They pitched Schmitty and me real carefully. They were only going to let us hit certain pitches. You can just see teams saying, 'We're not going to let these guys beat us.'"
Fastballs are few
You don't have to be a Fulbright Fellow to know there aren't exactly 23 Phillies capable of crushing thr ball 600 feet at any moment. There are, precisely, two. So when Luzinski and Mike Schmidt get to the plate in close games these days, they're not seeing six straight fastballs down the middle.
"Hell, ask a pitcher on our team," said Luzinski. He turned to Dick Ruthven. "What would you have done if you were Fingers?"
Ruthven paused a second.
"I'd have tried," he said, "to make you swing at a ball."
"That's why the whole thing's so frustrating," Luzinski said. "Because I know what they're trying to do.
"If I was really disciplined this year, I'd probably have about 60 walks right now. But I'm in a situation where I'm hitting fourth, RBI man, in the middle of things. I want to hit. I want to drive in runs. So all of a sudden, because I'm trying to be aggressive, I start jumping at the ball, start doing all the things I don't do when I'm swinging the bat good.
"It's no reflection on Bob (Boone). He's just struggling right now. I'm not complaining or anything. I'm just frustrated. I'll get to the point where I'll feel good for a week. Then I don't get anything to hit."
When Luzinski hit .300 three straight years, he had guys such as Dick Allen and Richie Hebner hitting behind him. Now, either Boone is going to have to come out of his funk, every pitcher in baseball is going to have to come up with Gopher Ball Disease or Luzinski has to figure out something.
"I'm sure I'm not the first guy who's gone through this," said the Bull. "I'm just going to have to adjust. I've just got to be more disciplined and hope I come out of it."
His stats, before last night, still said .272, 15 homers, 41 RBIs. A lot of guys would love to ponder trying to come out of that.