Cincinnati Enquirer - May 11, 1980
Off Or Even, Numbers Add Up To Reds’ Victory
By Ray Buck, Sports Reporter
This story is brought to you by the numbers 3, 5, 9, 11, 17-2 and 3-for-24.
• 3 is the number of home runs off of Tom Seaver at Riverfront Saturday afternoon, also the sum total of runs produced by the Philadelphia Phillies.
• 5 is the number of runs scored by the Cincinnati Reds, making the final score, 5-3, and giving the revitalized Reds four straight and six of their last seven.
• 9 is the number of innings Seaver felt he could have gone until he Jammed his right shoulder sliding into second base in the sixth Inning and lost some of his power. He settled for hurling seven four-hit innings before turning things over to no-nonsense Tom Hume, who retired the Phillies in 1-2-3-4-5-6 order for his fifth save and reduced his ERA to 1.86 – best in the National League.
• 11 is the number of strikeouts for Phillie starter Steve Carlton (5-2) who was beaten by an unearned run in the sixth inning when shortstop Larry Bowa backpeddled into shallow left field to drop a two-out popup, allowing the Reds' fourth run to score. "I just dropped It. I have no excuse. I wished I did," Bowa said afterwards.
• 17-2 is the Reds' record with Dave Collins In the lineup. They are 2-8 without him.
• 3-for-24 is what Dan Driessen was hitting against left-handed pitching when he came to the plate in the fifth inning against Carlton, best lefty in the league, and socked a two-run home run into the right-field blue seats.
"YOU FIGHT and scratch and wait for one good pitch," Driessen said respectfully of Carlton, 230 victories into a career that will take him to Cooperstown, N.Y. "When you get it, you better not miss it because it's the only one you'll get."
Driessen, who hadn't hit a home run since April 17 when the Reds were 8-0, cashed in on a Carlton slider.
The Reds' easy-listening first baseman was batting a very inconspicuous seventh in the order against Carlton, the lefty.
"People normally harp on (results against) left-handed pitching," Driessen shrugged. "But I don't mind. I quit paying attention to them."
This is one of your last remaining parts from the Big Red Machine days. He is homegrown and perpetually happy. Like the post-game conversation about his brand-new haircut.
He belly-laughed when someone wondered if birth was the last time his hair was that short. Then he explained that his hairstyle last year was a "New Yorker" with a slight Afro-tall and that his sister, a beautician, gave him a "Special Feeling" hairstyle this past spring training.
WHAT'S THE latest Driessen hairstyle called? "A crewcut," he laughed.
There was much laughter and handshaking in the home clubhouse. Recently outpatients of Ted Kluszewski's bat infirmary, the Reds had just beaten one of the NL's bona fide ace pitchers.
"Carlton and J.R. (Richard) are so tall," protested Davey Concepcion, "that when they pitch, they should take the dirt off the mound."
Driessen suggested, "He (Carlton) should have to pitch from second base. It would be better for everybody."
The Reds turned to their own ace who hadn't pitched up to his capabilities this season because of a nagging right shoulder ache and a pulled muscle in his right side sustained in the abbreviated spring training.
"I felt very good the whole game today," Seaver said, increasingly upbeat. "This is probably the best I've thrown all year. I felt like some strength has come back in my shoulder. I can't generalize but the stronger I get, the harder I should throw the ball."
SEAVER, WHO brought a head cold back with him from New York and wondered if he would be able to pitch Saturday, hasn't walked a batter in 19 innings after issuing 11 walks In his first three starts.
Against the Phils, he gave up three solo home runs – two legitimately and one on a misplayed sinking line drive.
He replayed each one: "Bad pitch to Bake McBrlde (fourth inning); good pitch to Mike Schmidt (sixth inning) but he's Just a good hitter, and the Bowa thing was just one of those things that happens."
The "Bowa thing" became an inside-the-park homer in the fifth inning when left fielder Collins and center fielder Sam Mejias collided on a slicing line drive that gave neither one time to call for it.
"It was Just one of those freak plays," said Collins, who was momentarily stunned but unhurt as Mejias chased the ball to the wall. "Sammy could've made the play; I could've made the play. We were both going full-speed and it was just self-defense."
NEITHER COLLINS nor Mejias had ever been involved in an outfield collision before.
Mejias, who drew his first walk of the season and scored the Reds' first run of the game on Driessen's homer, has emerged as something more than a defensive replacement in the late innings.
"I guess there was some doubts in the beginning if I could help this team," said Mejias, who is batting .306 with five runs scored and six RBIs on 11 hits. "I just want to do the best I can and show that they don't have to be sorry about keeping me."
The Reds pulled even, 3-3, on Seaver's walk and Junior Kennedy's RBI double in the right-center field alley in the sixth.
Then Kennedy scored when Johnny Bench walked and Bowa dropped Ray Knight's popup in shallow left.
Ken Griffey sat out the game with swelling in his right knee (not the one that underwent surgery last August) but expects to return to right field today as Reds and Phillies close out the series at 2:15 p.m.
George Foster is available for pinch-hitting, at least.
‘Friendly’ Rivalry May Cost Concepcion, Bowa
By Ray Buck, Sports Reporter
"Players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in uniform." Rule 3.09, Official Baseball Rules.
Davey Concepclon and Larry Bowa face possible fines of $100 each for violating this seldom-enforced code of ethics prior to the past two games at Riverfront.
Concepclon of the Cincinnati Reds and Bowa of the Philadelphia Phillies – perhaps the most celebrated rivals among National League shortstops – have been conducting business as usual, needling each other every chance they get.
Apparently, umpire Bruce Froemmlng isn't amused.
Citing Rule 3.09, Froemmlng warned both players Friday night and again Saturday afternoon of an automatic $50 fine that goes along with chit-chatting while in the game's sacred robes.
Concepclon isn't sure if he will be fined or just reported to the league office.
"He (Froemmlng) said, 'If you don't move, I'll fine each of you $50,'" Concepclon said. "Since the Madlock thing (Bill Madlock's appealed suspension for pushing umpire Jerry Crawford with his glove ), they have been really tight."
THE BOWA-CONCEPCION dialogue grew Saturday into barbs about Concepcion's .198 batting average at game time.
"He (Bowa) said I was hitting my weight," Concepclon reported with a not-hurt-too-deeply grin and chuckle.
That was when Concepclon apparently countered with a Gold Glove verbal jab, sending a batboy into the Keds' clubhouse to get one or his five Gold Glove trophies.
"He (Bowa) was complaining in spring training that he didn't get the Gold Glove last year," Concepclon reasoned.
Bowa reportedly replied, "I'll smash it with my bat" and Concepclon countered, "That's okay, I’ve got five more just like it.
Actually, Concepclon has been named the top NL defensive shortstop five years (1974-75-76-77-79) but owns a sixth Gold Glove that was replaced by the Rawlings Company because of a defective paint job. That's the one Concepclon tried to give Bowa.
Bowa, who has a brilliant .982 lifetime fielding average and two Gold Gloves (1972-78), muffed a two-out popup In the sixth inning Saturday that cost the Phillies the unearned run by which they lost, 5-3.
Concepclon respects Bowa. But he also remembers how Bowa used to call him "Elmer" because there was always an "E" before his name in the boxscore.
"I might talk to him about it tomorrow," Concepclon decided with a mischievous grin.
Discreetly, of course.
¶ ¶ ¶
THE LAST full-scale, honest-to-deadline interview between Steve Carlton and sportswriters? Following Game 3 of 1978 National League playoffs when he beat the Dodgers, 9-4, and slugged a home run. The no-talk lefty did give one Clearwater newspaperman a story last winter on a visit to his automobile dealership which he and Mike Schmidt are partners... Tim McCarver, Carlton's personalized catcher until his retirement after last season, is now doing color in Phillies' broadcast booth. His first interview was Met manager Joe Torre, who gave "uh-ha" and "un-uh" answers while McCarver squirmed with the mike.
A New York scribe with a finger on the pulse of the American League predicts that Don Zimmer could be axed within the month and Whltey Herzog named manager of the Boston Red Sox... Pete Rose is 1-for-8 so far in two games against Reds with an 80-foot infield single, one fly ball, six groundouts and a walk. He wondered aloud if the scouting reports could really be that good.
TELLING IT Like It Is Dept. Phillies' second baseman Manny Trillo needed a minute to think about it when asked to name the best doubleplay combination in the National League today? "Bowa and myself," he finally replied. "We think we are the best. Actually, this is the first time I ever say I am No. 1. I don't like to say that. It sounds kinda fresh." Such a revelation couldn't go without further evaluation of DP combos around the league. Trillo, coming off disabled list (sprained ankle) and ready to play now, likes the work of New York's Frank Taveras and Doug Flynn around the bag, followed by Pittsburgh's Tim Foil and Phil Garner – particularly with the latter's ability to change positions in recent years to serve his employer.
Joe Torre wanted to hire Bud Harrelson, the former Met-Phlllie shortstop, as first base coach available for emergencies. The plan was to move first base coach Joe Pignatano to bullpen where 22-year-old Al Osmundsen now handles Met pltchers -but GM Frank Cashen reportedly nixed the idea. Harrelson, working out at Shea Stadium and "trying to get down to 110 pounds," has since caught on with Texas Rangers.
MISPLACED METS. Former Red Doug Flynn has found a home with the Mets but questions whether or not the Mets have. "This field (Shea Stadium grass) isn't really conducive to the type of ball club we have. We have line drive hitters and this field sucks up ground balls. AstroTurf would be a lot better with the way they have our club." To-Shea!
Joel Youngblood's outlook on life has changed since he signed a three-year, $1 million contract with the Mets this spring. "I just feel more comfortable," said the 28-year-old outfielder. "I'm more relaxed. Umpire calls don't bother me. And the money doesn't keep me from running into the fence."
JOE SAMBITO believes the Houston Astros are over their fear of the Reds. "In 1976, we were the no-names playing the World Champions," said the Astros' ace reliever. "It was really a bit intimidating coming into Riverfront Stadium. There's no need for us to be afraid of any team now. We know how good we are. I think we're the team to beat in our division."