Philadelphia Daily News - June 5, 1980
Phillies’ Carlton A ‘10’
By Thom Greer
PITTSBURGH – Captain Quiet isn't always a superhero.
Captain Quiet, aka Steve Carlton, did not strike out countless numbers of Pittsburgh Pirates last night. He failed to overwhelm them with white-hot pitches that always seem to go wham and zap and pow as opposing batters fall by the wayside. Indeed, by Manager Dallas Green's accurate comparison of last night's effort to some of Carlton's other outings this season, everything except his fastball was on the "bottom third" of Lefty's level of effectiveness.
But down the stretch, through the final five innings after the Phillies had staked him to a one-run lead with a three-run fifth inning, Steve Carlton found the wherewithal to get the job done. He gave the Phils a 4-3 win over the Pirates and snapped a three-game losing streak in front of 31,075 disappointed Bucs fans at Three Rivers Stadium.
The victory was Carlton's 10th in 12 decisions, an early pace that far exceeds his first Cy Young Award-winning year of 1972, in which he posted a record of 27-10. Lefty – the majors' first 10-game winner – struck out four Pirates to increase his league-leading total to 95. And he completed his fifth game in 13 starts.
"ITS DAMN NICE to manage a club (with a Steve Carlton on it) in a year like this," Green said. "He's got 10 wins. And how many do we have? (Phils are 24-21, three games behind the division-leading Pirates.) We'd be in a hell of a shape without him."
What was perhaps most impressive to both Green and catcher Bob Boone was the manner in which Carlton sensed victory in the final two innings and went after it with the meticulous care of a mathematician programming a computer.
With two outs in the Pirates' eighth inning. Dave Parker laced a sharp single to center that Garry Maddox tried to barehand on the hop. The ball got away from Maddox and Parker was standing on second by the time the centerfielder found the handle. The next batter was the ever-dangerous Bill Robinson, who already had doubled off Carlton.
Carlton worked the count to 3-1 and then went back to his money pitch – the slider – that was bankrupt earlier in the contest. Robinson fouled off the 3-1 pitch. And then, with a mighty cut, went down swinging to end the inning.
"The size of it is the main thing." said Pirate Dave Parker, who had embarrassingly chased the slider all night. "His slider comes at you so much larger than anybody else's. It comes in straight at the middle of the plate and then breaks off nearly a foot. You shouldn't swing at it. But you see it coming and you know it's a fastball, then it's way over there."
WITH ONE OUT in the ninth. Lee Lacy lashed an 0-2 pitch off Mike Schmidt's glove and into the left-field foul area for his second double of the night. And it was time for Carlton to bear down again. Steve Nicosia flied out to center for the second out. Dale Berra lined a 2-2 pitch to right. Greg Gross, Green's eighth-inning defensive replacement for Lonnie Smith, had already moved in a couple of steps and got a good jump on the ball at the crack of the bat, cuddling it in his glove waist-high for the final out.
Boone compared Carlton to "all the great pitchers in the history of the game" who have a lead in the late innings and let it all hang out to maintain it. "He gives you his best stuff." insisted Boone, who said Carlton and Pete Rose have the best concentration of any players he has ever known. "They (the great ones) close it out for you. And Steve did it again for us tonight."
Boone said Carlton, who scattered seven hits but allowed only two in the last five innings, discovered his slider was ineffective early in the game and, for the most part, abandoned it. "But we always reverted back to it in the tough situations," he added.
Boone explained why they fall back on the slider. "From a hitter's standpoint." he said, "the way you recognize a breaking ball is that it goes first up and then down. You react to it when it goes up. But Steve's slider comes straight at the hitter and finally explodes down and away. You (a hitter) have to believe fastball and then it breaks into that unhittable zone."
GROSS, WHO compares the effect of Carlton's slider to the unbelievable antics of the split-fingered fastball of the Cubs' Bruce Sutter, said, "I have never seen a starting pitcher go as consistent as Carlton has gone this seasons and never with that kind of stuff. He's been awesome."
The Phils, who played their first game since April 30 without an extra-base hit, scored a run to tie the game in the second inning on consecutive singles by Boone, Maddox and Larry Bowa. But the Bucs quickly regained the lead in their half of the second and increased it to 3-1 with another in the fourth when Madlock doubled and later scored on a single by Nicosia.
Bowa grabbed his second hit of the night to open the fifth and moved to second when Manny Trillo followed with a single to center. Carlton moved the runners with a well-placed sacrifice bunt. Smith, given life when Phil Garner missed an easy pop fly behind first base, singled to right to score Bowa and easily made it to second on Parker's throw back to the infield. Rose drove in Trillo and Smith, with the winning run, with a sharp single to center.
Because of such timely hitting, usually-sound defense and the pitching of Captain Quiet, Dallas Green is positive the woes of the Phillies, who temporarily derailed their assault on Pittsburgh's division lead with three straight loses, will be resolved.
"I'm still sure this thing will fall into place," Green said, "as long as Steve keeps giving us that little breathing spell every fourth or fifth day. He's like money in the bank."
PHILUPS: Greg Luzinski, who injured his left shoulder when he crashed into the wall Tuesday night chasing down a fly ball, played last night even though he was not sure he would be able to until after taking his cuts in the batting cage before the game. He experienced numbness immediately after hitting the wall, iced it down for five hours after the game and still labored through a painful night. "You have to admire him for going out tonight and doing what he did." Dallas Green said... John Candelaria, making his first start of the year against the Phillies, saw his record drop to 2-5. The Candy Man lasted seven innings, but was tapped for eight hits along the way... Pete Rose's two hits gave him a career total of 3,422 and left him just eight hits behind Honus Wagner for fifth place on the all-time hits list and third place on the all-time National League list.
Schmidt, Carlton Honored for May Days
NEW YORK (UPI) – They might be lingering somewhere behind the Pirates, but the Phillies are going far from unnoticed.
National League President Chub Feeney yesterday named Mike Schmidt National League Player of the Month and Steve Carlton N.L. Pitcher of the Month.
One can only imagine what Feeney would have done if the Phils were in first.
Schmidt won with an incredible May. hitting 12 home runs, driving in 29 runs and scoring 26 times. In all, he collected 29 hits in 95 trips to the plate for a .305 average. He also stole two bases.
Carlton was no less incredible, going 6-0 in May. He worked 60 innings, struck out 70 and walked 24. He allowed 11 earned runs, threw one shutout and scattered 40 hits in compiling a 1 65 ERA.
There were seven winners in the Daily News Home Run Payoff last night.
In the fifth inning of the Phillies-Pirates game, Helen E. Updegrave of Wyomissing won $60 and four tickets to a Phillies game on a two-run single by Pete Rose. Gerri Reid of Philadelphia won $35 and tickets on an RBI single by Lonnie Smith. Diane Ward of Royersford and Cecelia F. Nylec of Philadelphia each won $10 and tickets on singles by Larry Bowa and Manny Trillo. Chester Carey and Mike Duvak of Philadelphia, and Angie Urvakis of Glenolden, each won four tickets.
So far the Daily News has paid out $5,095. To enter, send the coupon that appears on this page.