Wilmington Evening Journal - May 14, 1980

Lerch trying to be brave over 0-5 mark


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


ATLANTA – Randy Lerch takes a look at his winless record, then tries to make up for it all in one start.


"It's like I'm trying to win four games all at once," the Phillies' left-hander said last night after his record fell to 0-5 with a 7-3 loss to Atlanta: "I'm out there trying to pitch a no-hitter; I'm trying to be so perfect that it's hurting me."


Lerch gave up two runs in each of the first two innings last night, then was virtually perfect. He retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced, not allowing a hit.


Lerrin LaGrow took over in the eighth after the Phils had closed to within a run at 4-3 in the top of the inning and was the victim of a three-run Braves' outburst.


But most of the discussion of this jarring setback centered around Lerch and some unexpected plays by Atlanta's usually leaky defense.


There were two out in the first inning when Gary Matthews' grounder bounced off Mike Schmidt's glove for a two-base error. Then, Chris Chambliss doubled to left and Jeff Burroughs doubled to left-center.


But back up a moment.


With the count 2-2 on Chambliss, the former Yankee first baseman fouled off seven consecutive two-strike pitches. Finally, Lerch threw a slider over the plate and Chambliss crushed it.


"That's one of the best at-bats you'll ever want to see," commented Lerch, who allowed seven hits during his seven innings. "He was hitting balls a foot inside. You have to give him credit. When I made a mistake, he jumped on it."


With two down in the third, consecutive singles by winning pitcher Doyle Alexander, Jerry Royster, Bob Horner and Matthews produced two more runs.


"I've never gone through anything like this before," said Lerch. "I have to handle it like a man. I have to go out there the next time and forget about the five losses.


"I've got to forget about the 0-5, and stop trying to be so perfect. I'm not going to win five games all at once. I have to win the first, then worry about the second. Right now, it seems like no matter what I do, it doesn't work. I feel like a wounded animal with the dogs closing in."


"The bottom line is that Randy Lerch is 0-5," said Manager Dallas Green. "He's pitched some good games and he's pitched some games that weren't so good. We're trying to get him to be a part of the pitching staff, but he's not going to be able to win five games all at once.


"In the beginning tonight he was only using half of the plate, the outside half. We talked to him about it and told him to try using the inside half some. He did and it helped. He gets in a groove of thinking all he has to use is the outside. A good pitcher uses both."


Originally, Lerch wasn't even supposed to pitch last night, but when Larry Christenson developed some stiffness around his elbow, Green elected to have the right-hander skip a start.


"I didn't want to take any chances," said Green. "I felt it was better to have him miss a start than risk losing him longer with something serious. He wasn't very happy about it, but it was my decision.”


"I could have pitched tonight," snapped Christenson. "It cost me a bleeping start, that's what it did. I'm OK."


The Phils scored their first run when Pete Rose was safe on an error, raced to third on another error, then scored on Schmidt's double off Horner's glove at third.


Alexander, who entered the game with an 0-2 record, kept coming up with key pitches and his defense was superb.


In the fifth, Lerch opened with a walk, and Rose followed with a scorcher to the left of Luis Gomez. The shortstop backhanded the ball after one hop and turned it into a double play.


"I can't hit a ball much harder than that," said Rose. "I thought it would bounce off his glove. It was strictly a reflex play."


In the eighth, pinch-hitter. George Vukovich walked and Rose doubled to left-center, putting runners on second and third. Alexander was replaced by Rick Camp, who gave up a two-run single to Bake McBride. After hitting Schmidt with a pitch, Camp fanned Greg Luzinski and forced Bob Boone to hit into a double play.


"I don't know how Jerry Royster got rid of the ball," said Schmidt, who crashed into the second base-man in an attempt to break up the double play. "He must have thrown it a second before I took him out."


EXTRA POINTS – Larry Bowa became the first Phillies' player to be ejected from a game this year... After flying out to center in the seventh, he continued to argue with home-plate umpire Steve Fields over a strike-one call during the same at-bat and was thumbed... The crowd of 10,146 booed Horner, who was back in the lineup for only the second game since being reinstated by owner Ted Turner.

Owners’ new proposal covers keys issues


Associated Press


CINCINNATI – Negotiators for major league baseball team owners have offered a new proposal covering a number of key issues in contract talks with the Major League Players Association.


A management spokesman acknowledged that the proposal, which was presented yesterday, deals with the most serious issues in the talks – compensation for teams who lose players to the free agent draft, and the percentage of television revenues to be paid to the players pension fund.


In a story in today's editions, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported what were said to be highlights of the management proposal.


They included:


•  Substantial revision of the proposal covering selection rights for clubs losing "ranking players" in the free-agency re-entry draft.


•  A 70 percent increase – to $14.4 million from $8.3 million – in the clubs' annual contributions to the player pension and insurance plan.


•  Increases in player allowances for regular season and spring training expenses.


•  Several improvements in contract language.


A "ranking player" would be defined as one who is selected by more than seven clubs in a limited number of rounds, to vary according to the number of players in the free-agent pool each year, and one who ranks among a certain upper portion of the leaders in his league, with pitchers, relief pitchers, catchers and infielders-outfielders in separate categories.


For a player selected by three or fewer teams, there would be no compensation to the team losing the free agent.


For a player selected by four to seven clubs, the compensation would be a choice in the draft of amateur players, as is the case now.