Philadelphia Inquirer - May 14, 1980
New offer made in talks
NEW YORK Management negotiations offered a new proposal covering a number of key issues as talks in the baseball contract dispute resumed yesterday. The two sides met for about two hours with a federal mediator and then adjourned, with both Marvin Miller, executive director of the union, and Ray Grebey, chief management negotiator, refusing to comment on either the new offer or the status of the talks.
A management spokesman acknowledged that the proposal deals with the most serious issues in the talks – compensation for free-agent signings and the percentage of television revenues to be paid to the players' pension fund.
The players have set a May 22 strike deadline, saying that they will not play unless a new basic agreement is reached by that date.
Talks are scheduled to resume today.
Phils lose as Braves shell Lerch
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTA – Maybe Randy Lerch doesn't need a pitching coach. He just needs an editor.
Edit out a batter or two here, an inning or two there, let Dallas Green send Lerch's highlights film out there every four days instead of the real item, and the guy would be the next Warren Spahn.
If that editor had been hard at work last night, all you'd have seen was Lerch throwing five hitless innings at the Braves the – Braves' A team. Yep, Bob Horner at third. Gary Matthews in right. The real Braves.
Those five innings, Lerch was everything he wants to be, everything Dallas Green wants him to be. Unfortunately, they weren't the only five he pitched.
The first two innings counted, too. And in those, Lerch allowed seven hits and four runs and got the Phillies started toward a 7-3 defeat.
And so, for the seventh straight start this year, for the ninth straight start since Sept. 20, 1979, Lerch had failed to win.
"I feel," said Lerch, wearily, "like I'm a wounded animal with the dogs closing in.
"The bottom line," said Green, "is that he's 0-and-5."
Green has been harsh on the subject of Lerch in the past. Just the other day, he hinted that he felt Lerch was cruising on his great stuff. reputation and said, "We can't wait forever for him to pitch well."
But last night, Green was mostly sympathetic. Those ex-pitchers still feel a pitcher's pain.
"He's just got to remember," said Green, "that he can't win five games at once. He's got to pitch one game at a time from now on. Hopefully, he'll learn from the mistakes he's made over the five games."
Lerch took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the first, courtesy of two Atlanta errors (Nos. 44 and 45) and a Mike Schmidt double. But Matthews ripped a two-out bullet to third, and Schmidt missed a tough backhand of it for what was scored a two-base error.
"A tough play," Schmidt said. "But nine out of 10 times I'll catch that ball."
Next up was Chris Chambliss, the only lefthanded hitter in the Braves' lineup but maybe the toughest out in there. Lerch battled him for 12 pitches. Two were balls. Chambliss fouled off-nine (uh-huh, nine). Then he ripped the 12th for a double, and it was 1-1.
"That may be one of the all-time best at-bats," Lerch said. "I was throwing the ball a foot inside, with some air (speed). And he just kept getting enough of it – until I made the mistake."
Three pitches later, Jeff Burroughs ripped a high slider to the track in center for another double, and it was 2-1. And four straight singles in the second, including a Horner blooper to right for his first RBI of the year, made it 4-1.
Then Lerch turned it around and retired 16 of the last 17 hitters. But the groove came too late.
"I feel sometimes like I'm trying to throw a shutout every time out," said Lerch, sounding disgusted with himself. "I know there's no way I can't win if I throw a shutout.
“lt makes you try too hard. It makes ! yotf try and make every pitch perfect. It makes you overthrow sometimes. You get a couple runners on, and you say, 'Man, I can't let these guys score." And most of the time, you think that way and that's what will happen."
But last night, the Phillies almost saved Lerch from loss No. 5 with a rally in the eighth.
For seven innings, they had been three-hit by Doyle Alexander (1-2). And the biggest noise they had made until then was one Larry Bowa emitted to get ejected by home-plate umpire Steve Fields in the seventh. Bowa griped on two ball-strike calls, then added something after flying out.
Ramon Aviles replaced Bowa. And in the eighth, the Phils knocked out Alexander, got to within 4-3 on Bake McBride's two-run single and had first and second, nobody out.
But reliever Rick Camp pumped a fastball past Greg Luzinski (0-for-his-last-14) for one out. Then Bob Boone thunked a broken-bat bouncer to Horner's defensive replacement, Larvell Blanks. And Blanks started a 5-4-3 double play that Jerry Royster turned at second despite a thundering wipeout slide by Schmidt.
"That's the way it goes when you've got momentum on your side," Schmidt shrugged. "I can't take him out any better."
Just another ball game in Atlanta for the Phillies. If they ever do find that editor for Randy Lerch, his next project ought to be to edit out the whole state of Georgia.
NOTES: Larry Christenson was supposed to start last night. But his chronically arthritic elbow swelled up after his last outing May 7, so Dallas Green decided to scratch him and pitch Lerch. Christenson will pitch Saturday in Houston.... The Boston Red Sox sent veteran utility infielder Stan Papi to the Phillies yesterday, completing the deal in which catcher Dave Rader went to the Red Sox during spring training. Papi will report to Oklahoma City.