Sports Illustrated - May 19, 1980

Baseball- N.L. East


By Herm Weiskopf


By going 5-0 Pittsburgh lengthened its division lead to four games, which was more than those od the three other leaders combined. Not even League President Chub Feeney could stop Bill Madlock - yet. Feeney levied a 15-day suspension - the longest even in either league for an on-the-field incident - and a $5,000 fine against Madlock for shoving his glove in the face of Umpire Jerry Crawford on May 1. But Madlock appealed the verdict and continued to play until Feeney heard his side of the case and could reconsider the penalties. Madlock made the most of the delay by hitting home runs that helped beat the Braves 13-4, the Dodgers 7-6 and the Padres 4-3. Skinny Kent Tekulve fattened his season's record to 5-0 as he tied a major league mark by winning three games in a row. By week's end Tekulve had not allowed a run in 11 appearances covering 14-1/3 innings.


Second-place Chicago (2-5) outlasted San Francisco 15-9 in a game that featured four home runs by each team and a combined total of 31 hits. When the Chicago pitchers weren't giving up hits, they were walking droves of batters, 11 during a 4-0 loss to San Diego and three in a row to force in a pair of runs during a 6-3 setback at the hands of San Francisco.


Pitchers who come close to hurling no-hitters are often said to have "flirted" with the accomplishment. By that definition Steve Carlton of Philadelphia (2-3) is a very big flirt, because he has tossed six one-hitters in his career. Carlton was within four outs of a hitless game when the Braves' Bill Nahorodny singled. He finished with a three-hit, 11-strikeout 7-1 win. Four days later Carlton fanned 11 Reds and gave up four hits in seven innings, but one was Dan Driessen's two-run homer, and he lost 5-3. The Phillies had seven doubles while routing the Braves 10-5, and Mike Schmidt hit his eighth and ninth home runs and had eight RBIs for the week.


When it came to hitting, though, the Cardinals (4-2) outdid everyone. A .366 week raised their team average for the season to .298 and brought back memories of the 1930 St. Louis pennant winners who hit .314. The current Cards have five of the league's top 10 hitters, led by Ken Reitz, the scourge of Aprils past. For a change, Reitz continued his hitting into May with a .500 week (and 10 RBIs) that put him at .413, tops in the majors. Tony Scott hit .347 and Ken Oberkfell .417 before being sidelined for a month with a knee injury. Even Pitcher Bob Forsch got into the act, slamming his second home run of the season, a three-run shot, as he beat the Giants 12-2.


Improved pitching and 9-for-18 hitting by Ken Macha buoyed Montreal (4-3). Reliever Elias Sosa saved two games, and Woody Fryman worked the final two innings of Scott Sanderson's 3-0 win over Houston.


"I guess we're even over-managing now," said frustrated New York Manager Joe Torre, who frequently gathers his players for clubhouse sessions. Maybe not, Joe. The Mets (3-4) put together back-to-back victories for the first time this season and later beat the Expos 2-1 as Craig Swan fired a three-hitter.


PITT 17-7; CHI 13-11; ST. L 13-13; PHIL 11-12; MONT 11-15; NY 9-17