Philadelphia Inquirer - May 15, 1980
Carlton brilliant again as Phillies crush lowly Braves, 9-1
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTA – At least when other Phillies pitch, there is drama.
Send Randy Lerch or Dick Ruthven out there, and anything is possible. Give the
ball to Larry Christenson or . Ron Reed, and nothing is out of the realm.
But pencil in Steve Carlton and what do you get? Consistent brilliance. Routine, methodical, boring brilliance. Can't something be done about this?
"It's just a great groove he's in right now," said Bob Boone after Carlton beat the Braves. 9-1, last night with the help of a 14-hit Phillies attack.
"It's like anything else in this game," Boone said. "You get into one of these things and you stay in it for a while, just like when you get out of it, you stay out of it. He's just in a consistently awesome groove right now."
Carlton (6-2) thus has become the first National Leaguer to hit six wins. He has made eight starts and allowed three earned runs or fewer in 'every one of them.
He has had his tightest, most unhittable slider each time out. And he has always brought along either his A-1 curve or fastball to go with it.
What is it that makes this guy so consistent while practically everybody else in the game goes up and down more than Sir Edmund Hillary?
"It's the sign of a great pitcher," said Boone. "He's got great concentration every time. Before he comes to the park, he knows he's going to have it.
"And a lot of it, I'm sure, has to do with the fact that he feels so good. Some of the times in the past when he's gotten out of the groove, a lot of it had to do with his arm. He didn't feel as strong."
Actually, there is one consistent drama in every Carlton outing – his Great No-Hitter Hunt. Last night, after the Phils put away Atlanta starter Larry McWilliams and successor Tommy Boggs with eight runs in the first three innings, that was about the only drama left.
Carlton took the no-hitter to two outs in the fourth last night. Then, before Bill Nahorodny even had a chance to bat, Dale Murphy bounced a single into left.
"You try for it (the no-hitter) every time out when you've got that kind of pitcher," Boone said. "Again tonight we got the big lead, so again we walked a couple guys because you're not going to give in to them.
"I'll tell you, it's almost a relief when the guy gets the first hit. You say, 'Good. Now we can start pitching.'"
The only other hit Carlton allowed was Bob Horner's homer leading off the sixth. And that was almost a public service. It was Horner's first homer since Sept. 30, 1979 – and his first chance to get the boobirds off his case since his famous refusal to consult his atlas for the road to Richmond.
With the shutout gone, Dallas Green gave Carlton the rest of the night off and got Kevin Saucier and Tug McGraw some work.
"Steve's going to pitch again on Monday," Green said. "No sense in sticking him out in this kind of game."
If Carlton is going to be this boring on the mound, the least he can do is provide a little offensive entertainment. And he did last night.
For his first trick, Carlton beat out an infield hit in the second inning. (Do not adjust your newspaper. You read that right.)
Then in the fifth, he bunted Manny Trillo all the way from first to third when no Brave covered third. The Phillies may have practiced a lot of fundamentals in spring training, but they never worked on that one.
"Not exactly," said Green. "But it's not a bad play. If the guy's not covering, you might as well do it."
The other big offensive highlight was a rematch of one of baseball's historic confrontations of the '70s – McWilliams vs. Pete Rose.
It may not have the ring of Welch vs. Jackson, or Mcpregor vs. Stargell. But McWilliams was the Braves starter Aug. 1, 1978, the day Rose's 44-game hitting streak did not reach 45.
McWilliams will be remembered (by Rose, anyway) for a great play he made on a Rose shot up the middle that night.
But Rose won the rematch. He let himself get hit on purpose by a slow, curve ball in the first inning, and later scored the Phillies' first run. Then he doubled in the third run off McWilliams with two on in the second.
Rose eventually wound up with a 3-for-4 night, four RBIs (tripling his season total) and two runs scored. It might have been three runs, except Gary Matthews threw him out at the plate in the second. Rose hiked his-average from .222 to a less-embarrassing .245.
NOTES: Paul Owens talked with Braves G. M. John Mullen last night, at Mullen's request. Speculation was that they discussed the possible return of reliever Gene Garber to the Phillies. Garber has not pitched well (8.25 ERA, 1-2, 0 saves in 11 games) and has fallen out of favor in Atlanta.
Wide gaps remain in baseball talks
NEW YORK – After another round of negotiations in the baseball contract talks yesterday, wide gaps apparently still remain between management and the major league players association.
"The clock is running down," said Marvin Miller, executive director of the union. "There's a long way to go and a short time to get there."
Miller has said he will not be available for negotiations after Sunday night. The players have set a strike deadline of midnight, May 22, and the union chief said he would need time after Sunday to make contingency plans for the work stoppage.
Ray Grebey, who heads the bargaining team for management, views the deadline question as somewhat artificial.
"As far as the 26 clubs are concerned, there's no deadline," he said. "Our parks will be open on May 23, and we can play ball and negotiate at the same time."
Miller and his bargaining team met with Grebey and management's negotiators for more than three hours yesterday, then talks were adjourned to give both sides time to study new proposals which have been presented this week.
The most serious issue has been management's demand for compensation to be linked to the free agent clause of a new basic agreement. A report had suggested that the new, management proposal on compensation had included substantial changes. Miller scoffed at that, and Grebey would only characterize it as "a revision."