Wilmington Evening Journal - May 15, 1980
Phils ‘Rose’ to the occasion in bombardment of Braves
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
ATLANTA – To Dallas Green, the best way to describe the Phillies is inconsistent.
And to Dallas Green there are two reasons for that. One is the fact spring training was cut short. The second is what he calls a ridiculous schedule dotted with open dates.
"Play two games and have a open date," said Green. "That's almost the way the season has gone. It's difficult to build up momentum with that kind of a schedule."
The Phillies staggered on Tuesday, losing to Atlanta 7-3. Last night they exploded for 14 hits and sent the Braves reeling 9-1 before a typical Atlanta Stadium crowd of 4,625.
Pete Rose led the assault with two doubles and a single, and drove in four runs.
Steve Carlton pitched six solid, two-hit innings to gain his sixth victory in eight decisions, then was told to take the rest of the night off as Green emptied the dugout.
Larry McWilliams, who in 1978 teamed with Gene Garber to snap Rose's historic 44-game hitting streak, suffered the brunt of the Phils' attack. He didn't get past the third inning when the Phils scored four times on five hits, Rose's two-run single the key blow.
A two-out fourth-inning single by Dale Murphy and Bob Horner's first homer of the year leading off the sixth were the only hits off Carlton. He walked three and struck out four.
"A typical Steve Carlton outing," uid Green. "He could have continued, but I wanted to give Kevin Saucier and Tug McGraw some work. Sauce had not pitched in 10 days and Tug needs work to stay sharp."
When the players voted not to play the last week of exhibition games, the Phils decided to remain in Clearwater, Fla., and work out under the supervision of Green and the coaching staff at their own expense.
"I thought the fact we stayed together would help u when the season opened," said Green. "I was wrong to a degree because it wasn’t the same. You need those exhibition games to get your people in shape, especially the pitchers.
"Then, with the open dates we have had, it has been difficult to get something going. I'm not groping for excuses, but I think we have been inconsistent and thou are my reasons why."
Rose, who entered the game with a .222 batting average and only two runs batted in, feels the same way.
'I've always considered myself a momentum-type player," said Rose. "When you have days off you stay in bed most of the day and get sluggish. I like to come to the park every day and play. As far as I'm concerned we could open the season and play 162 games in a row. Once you get your act together, you do not want to stop.
“I’m happy we're playing an exhibition Thursday in Oklahoma City. I wish we had played a game on Monday. I’m going to be the designated hitter tomorrow, then worry about J.R. Richard in Houston on Friday night."
People have been whispering about Rose's low batting average, but he has not been concerned.
"I've been swinging the bat well," he said. "I've only struck out twice all year, that means I have been hitting the ball. And I've scored 21 runs. Only Mike Schmidt (22) has scored more. Another thing is the fact we've only played 26 games. Most teams have played 29 or 30. That goes to show how many open dates we have had."
It was on the night of July 31, 1978 in this stadium that McWilliams and Garber ended Rose's hitting streak.
"Funny thing," said Pete. "I hit two balls harder the night the streak ended than I did tonight. The single in the third was the most important hit for me. Anytime you get a two-out hit, it's important.”
Bake McBride, who is bothered by water on his knee, had three singles and drove in two runs, and Larry Bowa had a double and two singles in three at-bats. Schmidt and Manny Trillo had the other RBI.
"During the off-season I worked out on at a nautilus center near my home," said McBride, who is hitting .459 with runners in scoring position. "I also chopped a lot of wood around my place. I think the fact I am stronger is helping me hit so much better.
"I had the knee drained about three weeks ago and they would like me to have it done every week. It hurts so much when they stick the needle in, I don't think I am going to go along with that. It only hurts now when I jog and walk."
EXTRA POINTS – The Phils have collected 25 doubles in their last 10 games and lead the league in that department with 54... Schmidt has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, whereas McBride has hit safely in 10 straight, going 15 for his last 42 at-bats... The Phils are now 3-1 with the Braves this year... Carlton is now 18-12 lifetime against the Braves... The Phils are 2-3 on this road trip, with three games remaining in Houston...Today, they play their Oklahoma City American Association team... Nino Espinosa will test his right shoulder, while prospect Marty Bystrom is slated to start for the 89ers... Tomorrow night in the Astrodome, Dick Ruthven will go against Richard... Larry Christenson, scratched from a start here Tuesday night, will work on Saturday night against Joe Niekro.