Philadelphia Daily News - June 28, 1980
Phillies’ Offense Hardly a Big Hit
By Thom Greer
Dallas Green had been waiting for last night all season. He was not waiting in joyous anticipation with a candle burning in the window and a cold six pack in the icebox.
Instead, he waited with dread, like a condemned man who sits on death row. But he knew it was coming... had seen it developing for the past two weeks.
Thus, it came to pass last night that the raw talent which dominates the club Dallas Green manages muddled through a 3-2 loss at Veterans Stadium like so many rump roasts simmering in an oven.
Steve Carlton did not destroy the New Vork Mets as he has laid waste to so many before them with the efficiency of a neutron bomb.
The big cannons with which Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski normally blast baseballs into the cheap seats merely hissed in the face of John Pacella's blue heat and popped little flags with 'K' on them. And Pacella had not recorded a single win before last night.
EVEN THE PHILS' sterling defense whimpered for the most. part. Perhaps no one was as pitiful, however, as Bake McBride when he misplayed a routine single to allow Lee Mazzilli one spin around the basepaths with an inside-the-park home run.
"One game does not set a precedent," Green explained. "But we have not hit or generated offense like we are capable of doing for nearly two weeks. During that time. Lefty picked us up and we managed to stay afloat. But not tonight."
Steve Carlton lost his first game since May 10 with a performance that proved he is, after all, only human. The Mets blistered him for eight hits and three runs in seven innings. True, Bake McBride's miscue opened the floodgates for the Mets' three-run sixth inning, but Carlton was hardly the overpowering pitcher who came into the game with eight straight wins and allowed but four runs in his last 44 innings before the sixth.
"Lefty probably was up a little bit more than I've seen him," Green said. "He was not as sharp. But the Mets historically handle him pretty well." Two of Carlton's three losses this year have been to the Mets.
Of course, it is not Steve Carlton about whom Dallas Green is most concerned.
"I'm a little worried that we will slip back into that ol' don't-worry-gang-because-the-old-talent-will-take-over-any-day way of thinking," Green explained. "We may have to have a talk about that soon because the old talent is not catching up."
GREEN EXPLAINED that in 1976, 1977 and 1978, "We blew guys out with raw talent. The other guys didn't have as good raw talent. But what's happening now is that the talent is equalized. Pittsburgh and Montreal have developed excellent ballclubs. St. Louis has a lot of offensive talent. And even the Mets have started to drag things together. They've got a lot of scrappy young kids who want to play. And they can drag a couple of guys out of the bullpen when they need to.
"The Phillies still have the talent, but it has to be done as a team. We can not wait for the explosive innings with four or five runs. We've got to take it an inning at the time. Get a run here and there when we can. We'd better wake up to that soon. To do it we've got to take advantage of our team speed, cut the swings down and realize driving the ball is more important than two home runs. We can't keep trying to smoke everybody out."
The Phils did, however, get smoke from the least likely of bats to produce their only two runs. In the seventh inning, after Garry Maddox opened by beating out an infield single. Bob Boone temporarily vaulted out of his slump as he crushed an 0-1 pitch from Pacella deep into the left-field seats.
But that was it. Manny Trillo's second-inning double with one out, and Luzinski's hustling effort to turn a single down the first-base line into a double to open the fourth, put men in scoring position. But there they died.
It was as if the gods simply thumbed their noses at every Phils offensive effort.
AFTER A WALK to open the first, Pete Rose was called out stealing second to cap a double play after McBride struck out. Rose actually had the base stolen, but overslid the bag. Maddox got on to open the ninth by a Frank Taveras throwing error. But the next batter, Boone, hit into a double play that occurred only because Taveras was drawn into the path of Boone's bouncer up the middle because the hit-and-run was on.
Even McBride's effort, by his thinking, was simply bad luck. He ran a long way trying to grab a ball for which it appeared he had no prayer. "When the ball hit, it just skidded toward the foul line out of my reach," McBride explained. "There was nothing I could do about it. I knew I couldn't get the ball because I was running in the opposite direction. I figured somebody would be backing me up."
Surprisingly, McBride's play did ot upset Green because he maintained that is the kind of hustling, grind-it-out baseball the Phillies will have to play if they are to survive in the National League East.
"We all just have to wake up and realize we are in a dogfight," the manager said. "We got to grind it out every play."
PHILUPS: Despite losing and seeing his record drop to 13-3, Steve Carlton managed to strike out six Meis along the way. His fifth-inning K of Elliott Maddox gave him a career total ol 1.873 to make him the Phillies' all-time strikeout leader, ahead of Robin Roberts. Carlton also eclipsed another milestone in the first inning with his strikeout of John Stearns That one was his 1,869th, which moved him into ninth place on the major leagues' all-time strikeout list ahead of Cy Young... Despite the loss, the Phils remain 2½ games behind Montreal, which lost to Pittsburgh, 6-4... Dick Ruthven (6-5) and Dan Larsen (0-2) are scheduled to pitch tonight's doubleheader against Ray Burris (4-6) and Mark Bomback (5-1 ).
There were five winners last night in the Daily News Home Run Payoff Contest. In the third inning of the Phillies-Mets game, Joseph A. Coia of Philadelphia won $10 plus four tickets to a Phillies game when Bake McBride legged out an infield hit. Winners of tickets were E. Monahan of Camden and Philadelphians Joseph Williams, T. Lenihan Sr. and Thomas T. Salvatore.
So far the Daily News has paid out $8,685.
Today's coupon appears below.