Wilmington Morning News - May 15, 1980
Rose’s bat, Carlton’s arm best Braves
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
ATLANTA - It has become almost a daily ritual in each new town the Phillies visit.
Reporters walk up to Pete Rose's locker, pass some small talk, then ease into the big one. "Why isn't Pete Rose hitting?" they all ask.
Rose smiles, explains how hard his outs have been hit, and shrugs off the batting average which has stayed in the low .200s most of the season.
Rose blasted two doubles and a single and drove in four runs last night as the Phillies pounded Atlanta 9-1.
Steve Carlton, who allowed just two hits before he left after his sixth inning of work, won his sixth game in eight decisions.
Carlton did not allow a hit until Dale Murphy singled with two out in the fourth and the only run came in the sixth inning when Bob Horner led off with his first homer of a troubled season, a shot over the fence in right-center.
Soon after that, Manager Dallas Green turned the pitching over to the bullpen – Kevin Saucier and Tug McGraw.
"Because there have been so many open dates in the schedule, guys like Saucier have not pitched very much. It has been 10 says since he last pitched and Tug needs to stay sharp," said Green. "I thought this was a good chance for them to get some work."
By the eighth inning, Green had virtually cleared his bench, giving the reserves a chance to get in some innings against the hapless Braves.
Larry McWilliams, making his first appearance ever against the Phils, suffered his third setback in five decisions. He lasted only until the third when the Phils erupted for four runs on five hits with Rose's two-run single the big blow.
In 1978, McWilliams combined with Gene Garber to stop Rose's 44-game hitting streak.
"Funny thing," said Rose, who was with the Reds then. "I hit balls harder the night the streak ended than I did tonight."
Rose, who entered the game with a .222 average, said he has never really regarded this year's start as a slump.
"To me, a slump is when you go a lot of at-bats without a hit," he said. "I have been getting my hits, just not very many of them. Heck, I have only been to the plate 103 times and I have scored 21 runs. Only Mike Schmidt (with 22) has scored more runs.
"Take the game on Tuesday night. I hit a ball as hard as I can and Luis Gomez makes an outstanding play on it. That's hitting into hard luck. I honestly feel I could be hitting well over .300 if some of those hits had fallen in. I feel like I have a good stroke right now. In fact, it has never been that far off."
Rose, who had only two runs batted in before last night, had two other three-hit games – against the Braves and the Mets.
Close behind Rose last night was Bake McBride, who had three singles and drove in two runs in four trips to the plate. Schmidt and Manny Trillo had the other RBI in a game in which the Phils took command with two runs in each of the first two innings, putting it out of reach with the four in the third.
Larry Bowa, who had a seven-game hitting streak snapped by Doyle Alexander on Tuesday night, had a double and two singles in four at-bats.
"Carlton could have remained in, but I thought it would be good to give him some rest," said Green. "He had worked 56 innings before tonight, so I thought it would be good to give some of the other guys the work. There was no need stretching him in a game like this. He will pitch on Monday -night against the Reds."
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, while 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 fames remaining In Houston... oday, 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, Diet Ruthven will go against J. R. Richard... Larry Christenson, scratched from a start here. Tuesday night, will work on Saturday night against Joe Niekro, while Randy Lerch and Nolan Ryan will hook up on Sunday.
Baseball talks stalled
NEW YORK (AP) - 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."