Philadelphia Inquirer - June 4, 1980

Ott against McGraw?  No contest


By Bob Smizik, Special to The Inquirer


PITTSBURGH – It was the classic baseball situation. The bases were loaded and there were two out in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. It was a situation that demanded a hero.


And Ed Ott was smiling as he walked to the plate. It was, Ott was later to say, the kind of situation he most enjoys. The fact that the man. standing 60 feet, 6 inches away was Tug McGraw no doubt entered into his thinking.


Ott has not exactly made a living off McGraw, but when he looks back on his confrontations with the Phillies' reliever he says, "I've enjoyed it very much."


The enjoyment was heightened last night when Ott stroked a McGraw slider to deep right to score Vance Law with the winning run in a 4-3 Pirates victory.


Ott, who hit a grand slam off McGraw last August, should have been fooled by McGraw's pitch, but it's tough to get fooled by a hanging slider.


"I was guessing fastball," said Ott, the Pirates' lefthanded hitting catcher. "He had me 0-1, and I thought he'd try to get a fast ball by me to get way ahead. When you're guessing fastball and you see a hanging breaking ball, it's a watermelon pitch coming in."


Hanging slider or no hanging slider, Ott figures he has an edge when he faces McGraw.


"Tug is one lefthanded pitcher who is a lot tougher on righthanded hitters than he is on lefthanded hitters," he said. "His No. 1 pitch is his screwball, and he doesn't like to throw it to lefthanded hitters. So he's facing you without his best pitch.


"All he has after that is his fastball and his breaking ball, and he doesn't have the control of the breaking ball that he has to have.


"I guess you could say I feel very confident against Tug. I've had good success against him in the past."


It was that success that kept manager Chuck Tanner from going to his bench for righthanded-hitting Steve Nicosia, who platoons with Ott, in the ninth.


"No, sir. I never gave it a thought," said Tanner. "I don't mind using left-handed hitters against McGraw, and Ott has hit him pretty well in the past. A lefty takes his screwball away from him."


The Pirates' ninth was set up when Law, a rookie playing in his third major league game, led off with a single.


"I was told to watch out for his screwball, but he never threw it to me," said Law, who popped up against McGraw in the seventh with a runner on third and one out. "I think he was trying to get ahead of me before he threw it."


Law's sharp grounder up the middle barely eluded Larry Bowa, and the Pirates were in business.


So was Tanner. He had Law, who has below-average speed, running with Dave Parker at bat. Parker blistered a grounder to Manny Trillo that would have been a certain double play had Law not been going. As it was, Law reached second and two intentional passes and one out later was on third.


The son of former Pirate Vernon Law and a 39th-round draft choice two years ago, Law has yet to play in a losing game for the Pirates.


"It's such a thrill," he said. "It seems like a week ago I was watching the Phillies on the Game of the Week. Now here I am playing against them. I never dreamed I'd be here doing this so soon."


Ott was more restrained in his emotions. "It was a typical Pirate-Phillie game," he said. "We came back to beat them tonight, but they'll be hot on our heels at the end of the year."

Ott’s single in 9th kills Phillies, 4-3


By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer


PITTSBURGH – The ball Ed Ott crushed for the game-winning hit had long since come to rest. The mound at Three Rivers Stadium already had been covered with tarp.


Down a long, lonely tunnel and up the hall, Tug McGraw just sat there in a quiet locker room, his consolation prize – a beer – in his hand. This locker room looked amazingly like every other locker room in America, But Tug McGraw knew exactly where he was.


"I hate this place," he said.


The Pirates beat the Phillies, 4-3, last night in a dramatic crusher of a game, the kind the Pirates always seem to win, the kind the Phillies always seem to lose when they need them most – as they did before falling four games behind the Pirates in the National League East.


The Phillies led it, 3-0, as late as the sixth inning. Mike Schmidt demolished a hanger from Buddy Jay or Eddie or King or Just Plain Buddy Solomon in the first. It flew over a Pirates emblem in left-center for Schmidt's 18th homer, and it was 2-0.


Greg Luzinski, a half-inning after making the run-saving, wall-jarring catch of his life, tripled in another run in the third. So Dick Ruthven had a head start in his bid to become the first Phillies righthander to win in Pittsburgh since he did it in August 1978, five visits ago.


Ruthven never made it. As the next six innings built tensely toward Ott's big hit, the Pirates did all those typical Pirates things hauled pinch-hitter after pinch-hitter off the bench, brought on one tough reliever after another, even used designated-runner Matt Alexander to try to sprint in a run. The Phillies did none of those things.


By the time McGraw arrived in the sixth, it was 3-2. And after he pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam to preserve Ruthven's lead, Dallas Green just gave him the ball game and said, "It's all yours."


"I never considered pulling him in any situation," said Green, who even let McGraw bat when the Phils had two on, one out and the slimmest of one-run leads in the seventh. "He had great stuff."


McGraw showed that off real quick, not that he had much choice. He got to the mound in the sixth, looked around and found the tying run, Willie Stargell, at third; the go-ahead run, Mike Easler, on second; and Bill Madlock at the plate.


Madlock creamed the first pitch. One second, there was just this bullet down the line. The next, there was Schmidt, lunging, stabbing the ball with the last half-inch of his Gold. Glove, more ball out of the glove than in it.


"Some guys told me later it might have been foul," McGraw said. "But hey, the great thing about that, even if it was foul, if Schmitty doesn't catch it, I've gotta throw some more pitches to that guy. This way, phew. One pitch to get Madlock. Damn. Thank you."


Then Ott popped up, Dale Berra waved at a torrid third-strike screw-ball and McGraw was pounding that glove against his thigh all the way to the dugout.


After that, every inning McGraw kept going out there. Every inning the Pirates would make him squirm. Every inning he would wriggle out.


Omar Moreno ripped a one-out triple in the seventh. McGraw popped up Vance Law and threw an 0-2 fastball by Dave Parker. End of seventh.


But then the eighth. McGraw tried to sneak a fastball past Stargell – "My Frank Sinatra fastball," McGraw said. "You know – 'Fly Me to the 'Moon.'"


Stargell sent it soaring off into the night for an official, game-tying, gold-star homer. That didn't exactly end the eighth-inning adventures, however.


Easler smoked the next pitch to right-center for a double. One sacrifice and two intentional walks later, McGraw wound up having to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the game tied.


Bases-loaded jams in Pittsburgh have not been McGraw's specialty. There was even some thought, as Bill Robinson stepped in to hit for Kent Tekulve, that Green might yank him for Ron Reed right there, forcing Chuck Tanner to use the slumping John Milner. But again, Green stuck with McGraw.


"I don't think they really wanted Robinson to hit there," Green said. "He pulled that hamstring last night, so I think they thought I was gonna bring Reed in and they'd go to Milner. But Robinson can't run, and it's a double-play situation."


McGraw didn't get a double play. But he did get a Robinson pop-up. Then he struck out Moreno, looking, on a 1-2 fastball. So on to the ninth.


Law ripped a leadoff single that Larry Bowa just missed spearing.


"You've seen the guy make a thousand of them like that," shrugged Green. "He just didn't make that one."


Next, McGraw made his third-biggest mistake of the night. He forgot to hold Law on, so the rookie moved to second on a hit-and-run grounder by Parker that otherwise would have been a double play.


That set up a nearly inevitable chain of events – intentional walk to Stargell. soft chopper to first by Milner that moves the runners along, another intentional walk to Madlock.


So the hitter was Ott, the lefthanded-hitting, grand-slam artist.


"Hell, no, I wasn't surprised to see him hit," McGraw said. "He hit a grand slam off me last year, didn't he? The bases loaded again, you've gotta send the guy up. Any time a guy hits a grand slam off you, he's not too afraid to face you again."


McGraw tried to throw an 0-1 slider, tried to throw it "too good," he said. It "never really moved, just stayed right up there." Ott drilled it down the line in right. Game over.


Some traditions never die.


NOTES: In an attempt to ward off any repeats of last week's wrestling card in Philadelphia, the umpiring crew warned both clubs before the series not to throw at hitters. That meant automatic ejection for any pitcher accused of an intentional knockdown or brushback.... Phil Garner missed his fourth straight game with back problems.... Trainer Don Seger wants Nino Espinosa to try to really air it out before the game tonight. If Espinosa responds badly to that, it might affect the Phillies' thinking on a possible trade for a pitcher.... Steve Carlton (9-2) vs. John Candelaria (24, only 22 strikeouts in 73 innings) tonight.... Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tentatively scheduled a hearing for early next week on Madlock's appeal of a 15-day suspension and $5,000 fine imposed by National League president Chub Feeney. A spokesman for Kuhn's office said that the exact time and place are to be determined.

Phils pick a battery; Cubs take Ryan star


An 18-year-old battery was selected by the Phillies in the first two rounds of the June free-agent draft yesterday.


Catcher Henry Powell of Pine Forest High in Pensacola, Fla., was the Phillies' first selection. On the next round, they took a righthanded pitcher, Larry Knight of Chattanooga, Tenn.


Among Delaware Valley players, only one – Archbishop Ryan outfielder Dan Cataline – was picked in the 52-selection regular phase of the draft. Jle was taken by the Chicago Cubs as the 37th pick.


Cataline hit 11 home runs and drove in 44 runs while leading Ryan to a 23-1 record and the Catholic League championship. A right handed batter, he hit .340.


Only one other local player was taken in the entire draft. He is outfielder David Gallagher of Trenton, grabbed by the Cleveland Indians as the eighth pick in the secondary phase of the draft.


Powell, a righthanded hitter, who packs 210 pounds into a 5-foot, 11-inch frame, was scouted by former Phillies catcher Andy Seminick.


"He's got a quick bat and is aggressive at bat. Looks like he could have power. His arm is strong but needs work on throwing as he kind of winds up a little to throw," was one of the reports Seminick filed.


The Phillies had a total of 16 written reports on the young catcher. Randy Waddill, an area scouting supervisor, wrote on his latest report:


"Very strong, good athlete. Compact, aggressive stroke with good bat speed. Good pop in bat. Strong, true, fluid arm that will show better when release is polished."


Knight, 6-0, 175 pounds, was followed by scout Carl Loewenstine. “Shows outstanding arm strength. Fastball has major-league velocity with good life and hop to it. Power type who really challenges hitters," reported Loewenstine.


Following two rounds of the regular phase, baseball moved into the secondary phase, which includes players who were previously drafted but who didn't sign.


The Phillies, who selected 13th in the regular phase, were 21st in this phase. Kevin Romine from Costa Mesa, Calif., a centerfielder-short-stop, was their first pick.


Completing the secondary phase, the Phillies took righthanded pitcher Tim Lambert, 21, of Pomona, Calif.; shortstop Ken Dowell, 19, of Sacramento, Calif.; catcher Fernando Perez, 18, of Susanville, Calif.; right-handed pitcher Ed Wojna, 19, of Monroe, Conn., and outfielder John Whitt, 19, of San Pedro, Calif.