Camden Courier-Post - June 6, 1980
Phillies have chance to gain
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – It may seem difficult to justify a game in early June as crucial, but the Phillies might very well have won their most important game of the young season Wednesday.
The 4-3 win over the Pirates in the twilight zone of Three Rivers Stadium stopped the Phillies just short of limping home from a 1-5 road trip. It kept them from falling five full games behind the Bucs in the National League's East Division standings; and it served as evidence that the Pirates can, indeed, be beaten in their home park.
Now the Phils have a chance to make up some ground on the Pirates, who must face the tough pitching of the Reds and Astros in eight of their next 11 games, in a nine-game homestand against Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego.
NATURALLY, THE Phils will have to get decent pitching from a starter other than Steve Carlton, who has all but carried the starting rotation through the first nine weeks of the season.
After Carlton saved face for the Phillies with Wednesday's victory, a win that gave Carlton both the club's victories on the road trip. Manager Dallas Green asked the rhetorical question: "Where would we be without him, or with him in an off year?"
The answer, of course, is nowhere.
CARLTON'S STATISTICS for the season read like something constructed of pure fiction. He has completed five of 13 starts, allowing 69 hits and 22 earned runs in 102 innings. His 10-2 record includes five straight wins. He leads the National League in earned run average (1 .94), strikeouts (95) and victories.
He possesses almost half of the team's total wins, has its only victories (two) over the last seven games and has six of its last 15. Indeed, over the last 20 games Carlton has won one more game (five) than all the other starters combined.
It came as no surprise, then, that Carlton was named the National League Pitcher-of-the-Month for May. All he did during those 31 days was go 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59⅔ innings.
• Third baseman Mike Schmidt was another who put some startling numbers on the board in May, earning himself the National League's Player-of-the-Month award. Schmidt batted .305 with a career-high 12 home runs, 29 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
• There's a feeling among the Phillies that the front office will make a major deal, presumably for another starting pitcher, sometime before the June 15 trade deadline.
But there seems to be two sizable stumbling blocks. Starting pitchers of the kind the Phillies need are not a dime a dozen, and General Manager Paul Owens knows he might hurt his ballclub in another area if he trades for a quality starter. The other problem is Green, who seems willing to stand pat and hope one of the younger pitchers such as Bob Walk comes around.
The Phils might be able to get along with what they have as long as they continue to score runs at their present league-leading pace, and as long as Carlton continues his astonishing pitching. Neither is likely to happen over the course of the next four months.
"I think," said Owens, "we can hit this ' way all year. "I say that because (Larry) Bowa hasn't hit the way I think he can and because Pete (Rose) has been coming around."
• Walk makes his third start of the season tonight against the Cubs' Mike Krakow. The other pitching matchups for the Veterans Stadium series against Chicago have Randy Lerch going against Rick Reuschel tomorrow night and Dick Ruthven facing Lynn McGlothen Sunday afternoon. That means Carlton probably will open the series against the Giants Monday night.
Owners vote to ratify agreement
CHICAGO (AP) – Despite "certain reservations" over items in the new baseball players basic agreement, the major league owners turned back opposition and, as expected, voted to ratify the contract by a 21-5 vote.
St. Louis, Oakland, Minnesota, Cleveland and San Diego all voted against the pact But a simple 14-12 majority with a minimum of five teams from each league was required to approve the four-year agreement.
The Major League Players Association still has to vote on ratification.
The key issue in the bargaining prior to the May 23 tentative agreement had been compensation for free agents. That item was put off and a four-man committee of players and owners will be appointed to discuss the issue and make recommendations by Feb. 1, 1981. If approved by both sides, the recommendation would become part of the contract.
Should a compromise not be reached by that date, the owners would be free to implement their compensation proposal and the players would be free to strike.
On other matters, the new agreement increased the minimum salary from $21,000 to 30,000; granted an increased allowance for players' expenses; increased owners' annual contribution to players' pension fund from $8.3 million to $15.5 million, and reduced the number of years of league experience required from three to two before a player can submit his contract to binding arbitration.