Wilmington Evening Journal - June 25, 1980

Phils’ pitching weakness Exposed again


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The Montreal Expos ran the Phillies wild last night in Veterans Stadium, but it was the Phillies' arms that didn't exactly thrill Manager Dallas Green.


The Expos stole five bases, running their string to 14 in a row and 14 in 15 tries against the Phils this season. They also happened to win the game 7-6 in 10 innings, spoiling three Phillies' comebacks and making a loser of Tug McGraw, who has been pitching like a winner his last few times out.


But Green said he didn't like anything he saw on the mound last night.


"We're a team that's capable of comebacks," Green said, "but I don't find a damn thing encouraging about this game. I wasn't particularly pleased with the way we pitched tonight. Any of us. You'll have to ask the guys why they pitched that way. I don't know."


Starter Dickie Noles, who drew a $500 fine and three-day suspension (which he promptly appealed) earlier in the day for his Los Angeles bat-throwing act a week ago, allowed four runs and 10 hits in the five innings he lasted.


"I don't know if the suspension and fine were on his mind," said Green. "You have to ask him that."


Asked, Noles said "it wasn't on my mind at all. I just got my butt kicked tonight, simple as that. I just didn't do the job.


"Everybody else did their job. We kept coming from behind. I wish that loss could be mine because I didn't do the job."


The loss, however, belonged to McGraw. He threw a fastball that Warren Cromartie liked and drilled to right to score Ron LeFlore from second with what turned out to be the winning run after the Phils had stranded two baserunners in the eighth and ninth innings.


Green had elected to walk Gary Carter, who had already singled twice, and let McGraw face left-handed hitter Cromartie, who was hitting .416 over the last 19 games.


Strictly a percentage move.


"You're going by the book in that situation," shrugged McGraw, who has pitched a lot better than his 0-3 record might indicate. "Carter hits the ball off anybody, though you would like to think you can get anybody out."


Facing a left-hander, the left- handed McGraw usually junks his screwball, his out pitch. Last night he tried to get Cromartie with a sidearm fastball. Tug insisted it was the location of the pitch – "it got too much of the plate not the pitch selection that hurt. "You don't always win with your best pitch and you don't always lose on your worst pitch," McGraw said. "If you get the fuy out, it's a great pitch. It's the same pitch used to get the Giants out and to get Jay Johnstone to end the game in Los Angeles.


"I didn't make a good pitch to Cro, that's all," McGraw repeated. "I wanted to get the fastball way in so he'd foul it off or just miss it. But it got too much of the plate.


"That's not the pitch you want him to beat me with. But he's done that to me before. I'll have to figure out something else to use on him."


Cromartie agreed, sort of.


"Tug's always tough on me," said Cromartie, "but he got a fastball where I could see it and that was it."


The Expos had pecked away at Noles for five innings, scoring four runs. Andre Dawson's ninth homer, and 10th lifetime at the Vet, doubled the Expo lead to 2-0 in the third and a rash of singles lead made it 4-0 before Noles was mercifully retired for the night.


"Tonight's effort was not what I'm used to seeing from Dickie," said Green, who reluctantly pulled Noles from the bullpen when Dick Ruthven bruised his shoulder and has recuperated slower than expected. "He didn't pitch a particularly smart baseball game.”


Noles tried to join the Expos in kicking his own butt around the clubhouse.


Particularly galling was Carter's stolen base in the fifth, which got the lead-legged Expo catcher in position to score the fourth run on Brad Mills' single.


"Pete Rose told me Carter might run," said Noles. "That was another time I gave (catcher Bob) Boone a tough pitch to handle. It was tough enough to catch, let alone throw a guy out. Johnny Bench, in his best days, couldn't have thrown him out with the pitch I gave Boonie.


"Most of the time, the runners steal on our pitchers, not Boonie. It's not his fault."


Still, Rodney Scott stole three bases last night, tying a Montreal single-game record he already shared with three others. It was the third time this year a team has stolen five bases on the Phils in one game. Montreal, which has stolen 93 and been caught 28 times, has done it twice.


"They're pesky little devils," said Green. "They seemed to be all over the place tonight."


The Phils, who got their first hit on Mike Schmidt's infield single in the fourth, got four runs off starter David Palmer in the fifth. The key blows were Bake McBride's triple that Dawson couldn't handle in center and Schmidt's 21st homer, two-run bullet to left that tied the game 4-4.


Dawson circled under McBride's towering drive, let it pop out of his glove and glance off the wall before re-catching it on the warning track. The Expos protested the "safe" sign from umpire Dave Pallone but shrugged it off when told the instant replays backed Pallone. But winners can afford that luxury.


Montreal regained the lead off Lerrin LaGrow, but the Phils got the run back in the seventh on Rose's aggressive base-running. Then the Expos made it M in the eighth, only to see the Phils tie it in the ninth on Garry Maddox' single.


But Elias Sosa put down the Phils' last two comeback bids and Cro-martie caught up with one of McGraw's sidearm fastballs and Montreal was 2½ games ahead in the National League East chase.


Once again the Phils had lost the arms race.


EXTRA INNINGS - Pete Rose tied Met Ott for 12th place on the all-time list and fifth in the NL by playing in his 2,730th game... While the team was on the West Coast, the Phils' interior decorators were at work in the Vet, moving the Philadelphia skyline mural, which serves ii the home-run spectacular and which drew expletives from distracted hitter, from center field to the left-field bullpen and shifting the NL team logos to the tarps in left and right center. Center field is again a plain black backdrop... Expos' Bill Gullikson vs. Bob Walk tonight at 7.35.

Noles appeals $500 fine and three-day suspension


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Phillies' pitcher Dickie Noles has appealed the $500 fine and three-day suspension handed him yesterday by National League President Chub Feeney for a bat-throwing incident last Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium.


Immediately after the 23-year-old pitcher was notified of Feeney’s action, an appeal of the punishment was made through the Major League Baseball Players Association.


"Because of the appeal, Noles will be eligible to play until further notice," said Feeney from his New York office.


Feeney also said that under baseball rules, the appeal will be heard within the next 10 days.


"I really don't have much to say about it now," said Noles, who started for the Phils last night against Montreal at Veterans Stadium. "One thing is for sure. When you consider what I'm making (about $30,000), I can't afford those fines. I will never do anything like that again."


Prior to the action by Feeney, Noles was fined $250 by Phillies Manager Dallas Green for the incident. Green compared Feeney's suspension to "putting somebody in jail who goes through a red light."


The Phillies were locked in a 2-2 tie with the Dodgers when what caused the incident took place. The Dodgers' Joe Ferguson was on first base with two out in the fifth inning. Reggie Smith hit a ball between first and second that was gloved by Pete Rose. He lobbed a throw to Noles, who apparently tagged first base. Umpire Joe West, however, said the pitcher did not have his foot on the bag and an error was ruled on Noles. Steve Garvey followed with a three-run homer in a game the Phils eventually won 6-5.


Noles and Green complained about the decision, but it was not until the Phils returned to their dugout that the incident in question happened.


Noles threw a bat from the dugout, prompting umpire-in-chief Billy Williams to charge Noles and the other Phillies.


"I was just trying to get the umpires' attention," Noles said after the game. "I would never throw a bat at anyone."


When the Phillies arrived in San Francisco last Friday, Feeney held a hearing, listening to Noles, Green and members of the same umpiring crew.


"I have never felt it was a suspendable incident, especially since it is a first-time situation for Dickie," said Green. "I don't ever remember a precedent being set for this type item. If he physically abuses an umpire, I can see it.


"I am not condoning his action. I tried to keep it within in the Phillies' family. I fined the kid 250 bucks myself for unprofessional conduct. Now, maybe that's not enough money, but he only makes so much money. We're trying to impress on him what he did was very unprofessional. He understands that now.


"Only Dickie Noles can tell the intent of what he did. I don't think the umpires can do it, nor can I nor can Chub Feeney."


Green did not see the incident, but when Williams arrived at the dugout, the manager kept Noles out of it.


"I told Billy I didn't see it, but I told him I would take care of it at my end."


Should the league decision hold, Noles would be suspended for three days regardless of whether he was scheduled to pitch or not.