Wilmington News Journal - May 11, 1980
Phillies left Red-faced again as Seaver outpitches Carlton
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
CINCINNATI – With six games to go, there were some subtle hints yesterday this road trip might turn into a disaster for the Phillies.
Steve Carlton, who had won his last three starts in overpowering fashion, was unable to stop the Reds, who walked away with a 5-3 victory in the nationally televised game.
What made the setback even more distasteful to the Phils was the fact they felt if ever they had a chance to get the best of Tom Seaver, that was it.
Instead, Seaver allowed only four hits and three runs over seven innings to gain his third victory in five decisions. In addition, heads-up base running kept the sixth inning alive when the Reds scored twice to take a 4-3 lead.
So, the Phils, who lost the opener of this road trip to the Reds 5-2 Friday night, must regroup. Dick Ruthven goes against Mike LaCoss here today, then it's off to Atlanta for two games, followed by three against Houston's brilliant pitching staff in the always-difficult environment oi the Astrodome.
This was an especially tough game to take," Phillies Manager Dallas Green muttered after keeping the clubhouse doors locked to reporters longer than usual. "You have to give Tom Seaver a lot of credit, but I have seen him pitch much better. It's obvious he has changed; he no longer tries to overpower the hitters."
Carlton, now 5-2, allowed only four hits and struck out 11 during seven innings. But he walked four and one of those was Seaver to start the sixth.
"Steve goes through these things (control problems) and it's just a lapse of concentration," said Green. "To me, the key was not getting the double play in the sixth. If we get that, all those things wouldn't have happened."
After Seaver walked on four pitches, Dave Collins bunted in front of the plate. Catcher Bob Boone scooped the ball up and quickly tagged Collins seconds after he left, the batter's box. Boone then threw to second, but Seaver beat the off-target throw and there was no double play.
“Seaver really hustled," said Green. "Boonie's throw wasn't that good because he and Collins jostled before he could throw."
Junior Kennedy followed with a slicing double to right field that bounced off Bake McBnde's glove as Seaver scored to pull the Reds even at 3-3.
"I thought I was going to catch up to that ball," said McBride, whose one-out homer in the fourth shattered Seaver's bid for a perfect game. "It was slicing away from me and I couldn't get enough glove on it."
Kennedy went to third on Davey Concepcion's infield out and after Carlton walked Johnny Bench on a 3-2 pitch, Ray Knight lofted a pop to shallow left-center. Larry Bowa backpedaled. but the ball bounced out of his glove for a two-base error and Kennedy scored.
"It was my play all the way " said Bowa, whose second career inside-the-park home run in the fifth had given the Phils a 2-0 lead. "I wish I had an excuse; I just missed it. It was my fault."
Bowa, who made only six errors all last season, has already committed three this year.
Concepcion's triple off reliever Tug McGraw and a wild pitch gave the Reds their fifth run.
"That run was important," said Green. "It kinda took the wind out of our sails. It meant we had to take some strikes against Hume (reliever Tom Hume) and you know as well as I do he is not going to walk anybody."
After Seaver retired 10 batters in a row, McBride lined a 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence for his first homer of the spring.
With two down in the fifth, Bowa lofted a 2-1 delivery to shallow left-center. Both Collins and center fielder Sam Mejias raced toward the ball, crashing into each other before either caught it. While they rolled on the artificial turf, the ball continued to the wall and Bowa circled the bases.
The home run was his first since July of 1978. His first inside-the-park homer came in 1972, his first major-league home run.
"I was just lucky on that today," he said. "I didn't hit the ball that well."
Carlton, who retired the first nine Reds in order before Collins beat out an infield single, walked Mejias with two out in the fifth. Dan Driessen then battled the left-hander, finally blasting a hanging curve over the right-field fence.
"That's the same pitch I would have thrown, but I would have tried to get it away from the hitter more," said Green. "You really can't fault Carlton's pitching today. He pitched a good game."
With the score tied and two out in the sixth, Schmidt blasted a two-out homer to left and the Phils were up 3-2.
Then, Carlton walked Seaver and the lead quickly vanished.
EXTRA POINTS - Bowa and Concepcion were fined $50 each by umpire Bruce Froemming for "fraternizing" behind the batting cage Friday night. "We hadn't seen each other since last year because we didn't meet in spring training," said Bowa. "We were just talking; we're friends"... The Reds have beaten the Phils 28 times in the last 35 regular-season games played at Riverfront... Carlton and Seaver have faced each other five times since Seaver came here from tile Mets and Tom holds a 3-2 edge. Overall, his record against the Phils is 26-11, best of all the active pitchers... Greg Gross played center field in place of Garry Maddox. Maddox, recovering from a sprained ankle, played Friday but Green decided to rest him yesterday.
Phils’ ace Carlton is now letting his pitching do all his “talking”
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
CINCINNATI – In 1972, Steve Carlton won 27 games for a dreadful Phillies' team. It was the kind of season most pitchers dream of.
He won the Cy Young Award and was in demand for appearances all over the country. In most cases, he made himself available. He talked very openly about how much he believed in positive thinking and the power of concentration.
When he slumped to a 13-20 record in 1973, he was ripped in the newspapers. The reporters kept asking whatever happened to all that positive thinking. One even called him a "shot" pitcher.
Steve Carlton vowed then he'd never forget the treatment. That was the beginning of a vendetta against the print media that has reached its current stage: He will not grant any type of interview with any reporter except an occasional radio-TV type, such as former catcher and close friend Timmy McCarver.
Carlton has his reasons. Some are justified, especially those built around the cheap shots that were taken against him. Other are not justified.
Carlton is off to one of his finest starts. In fact, veteran National League baseball men compare his 5-2 record so far this season to 1972.
On April 26, he pitched the sixth one-hitter of his career, a National League record. Ted Simmons' second-inning single was the only hit St. Louis managed in the 7-0 Philadelphia victory.
Then, last Monday night, the 35-year-old veteran of 15 seasons came even closer to getting his first no-hitter. With two out in the eighth inning, Atlanta's Bill Nahorodny lined a fastball up the middle and it was over. Dale Murphy's ninth-inning homer and a single by Chris Chambliss left Carlton with a 7-1 victory.
The near-miss was his most powerful performance since 1972 when the team won only 59 games.
Yesterday, even though he lost to Tom Seaver and the Reds 5-3, Carlton pitched well. He allowed only three earned runs and four hits over seven innings.
After seven starts, he has pitched 56 innings, allowing 13 earned runs for a 2.09 earned run average. He has struck out 48 and walked 19.
Carlton has never gotten off to a 6-1 start. Each time he has been 5-1, he has lost his next decision. But on the other hand, he had been 5-1 four times and each year has won 20 or more games.
It would be interesting to talk to Carlton about this season. He is in tremendous physical condition and has been overpowering.
I consider him a friend. We talk frequently and while on road trips have sat together in coffee shops.
"You have to understand my policy," he says, many times pointing out inaccuracies and incorrect facts in newspaper stories. "Believe me, it is nothing personal, it is just best for me."
So be it.
"I think I have learned a lot about Steve Carlton the last year or so," says catcher Bob Boone. Until last season, Carlton would only let McCarver catch him. "He has tremendous powers of concentration. He shuts the outside world out.
"Physically, there hasn't been a game he's pitched so far where he hasn't had two outstanding pitches. And a couple of starts, he's had all three. In the late innings, you know you're going after a no-hitter, so you're being more careful, trying to make a nasty pitch every pitch."
Carlton did not respect Danny Ozark, the former manager. They just did not communicate.
Dallas Green, a former pitcher, has a good relationship with the lefthander and Carlton respects the new manager.
"When he was going after the no-hitter last Monday, night, I thought he had it after the sixth inning," said Green. "And after he lost it, he went after the one-hitter just as hard. I got back to what I said in spring training: Lefty is in as good physical shape as I've ever seen him in his career."
Steve's best pitch is his slider. It's the best in the league, if not in all of baseball.
"The slider has been a very good pitch for me," he said late last season. "I try to make the pitch look like a strike just before it breaks down in the dirt."
"It's almost impossible to hit," says McCarver. "I really don't know how he throws it. The results speak for themselves. It starts out like a slider-sinker. Steve's ball has a little less rotation than most sliders."
Carlton, who has won 230 games with the Cardinals and Phillies, attempts to block out the real world even on days when he is not pitching. He has open contempt for inept-ness in any area of our society. His friends and teammates say his powers of concentration are uncanny.
"You can't let yourself get on that emotional roller-coaster ride over wins and losses," he told me once. "That's why you have to try and keep an even level of intensity. It becomes harder and harder rather than easier with the years.
"There are so many deviations in this game. And there is always something else going on besides baseball. So often you just have to isolate yourself from everything else to try and keep up with your goals."
And then he added: "It is very, very easy to forget your goals. And how can you succeed without goals?"
No one knows just what Steve Carlton's goals are this year, but he obviously is moving toward them.