Allentown Morning Call - May 30, 1980

Pirates edge ‘unenthusiastic’ Phillies to regain 1st place


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – It was Businessperson's Special yesterday afternoon at Veterans Stadium but for all the life the Phillies showed, they should have stayed back in the office. 


"We didn't seem to have much enthusiasm out there," understated manager Dallas Green after the series-ending 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh that lifted the Pirates back into first place by a game. "I don't know whether it was the night game after the day game I mean the day game after the night game or what." 


See, even Green was confused and he's only the manager. "I know I had some trouble getting motivated myself." said Green. 


One would think, however, that the incentive of playing the Pirates would be enough to get a team fired up, particularly if that team had a chance to take three out of four games from the world champions. But the loss ended the series at two games apiece with the Phils heading for Chicago and the Pirates going to New York. They will meet again in Pittsburgh for three games beginning Monday. 


"I don't know what else you guys want out of us," said Green after the press seemed to think the Phillies' performance left something to be desired. "We split the series and in one of the losses (Tuesday night) we took them to the 13th inning." 


"You don't just say you're going to sweep this team or win three of four." echoed Larry Bowa. "Those guys are still a pretty good team. They might have something to say about what happens." 


Definitely true. But it is still odd that Green chose the final game of a series with Pittsburgh – a series that drew 141,722, the second largest attendance for a four-game series this season – to rest two-thirds of his outfield. He did not start either Bake McBride or Garry Maddox, even though the former has been one of the most productive hitters in the majors of late. 


"I don't think it's risky," said Green when questioned about leaving out both M’s. "I've got faith in those other guys (Greg Gross and George Vukovich) even though one of them (back to that) didn't have a particularly good day. Bake has had some trouble with his knees. You know that. And if I can rest Garry. I'll rest him. He's more effective that way." 


It was the first big shot for Vukovich, who came into the game hitting .357. mostly as a pinch-hitter… but he didn't respond very well. Hitting fifth in the order, he grounded into a fielder's choice, struck out and hit into a double play in three at-bats with men on base. The fifth inning double play ball really hurt since the Phils had runners on the corners with one out after Gross' double and an infield single by Greg Luzinski.


Then again. McBride did not exactly impersonate Mt. St. Helens in his brief appearance in the sixth, an inning that characterized the Phils' desultory effort. 


Bob Boone led off with a double and Bowa drag-bunted a single to put men on the corners. With Bowa running on the pitch to take away a double play possibility, Manny Trillo grounded to second baseman Phil Garner who threw home to get Boone by at least 10 feet. Then, McBride grounded into a double play to end the inning.


After that, Pete Rose was the only Phillie to reach first in the last three innings (and that was on an error) as starter Eddie Solomon (seven innings) and reliever Enrique Romo put the afternoon crowd of 30,630 to sleep along with the Phils. 


The Phils' only solid inning was the first when an infield groundout by Vukovich (not exactly what you want with one out and the bases loaded and a two-run double by Boone produced three runs. The trouble is, the Pirates had already scored three of their own by that time off starter Dick Ruthven on run-scoring singles by Willie Stargell and Mike Easier and a bases-loaded walk to Dale Berra. 


The Pirates actually won the game with two runs in the fifth as Ed Ott doubled in a run and scored himself on a Berra single to right. nVukovich should have been able to nail Ott on the play but threw it far up the baseline. 


The Phils' only other run after the first came on Mike Schmidt's sacrifice fly which temporarily tied him with the Dodgers' Steve Garvey for the league lead with 37. 


NOTES: The Phils continue to deny they're thinking of any trades for pitchers even though their rotation now consists of minor leaguers Dan Larsen and Bob Walk and two inconsistent starters like Ruthven and Randy Lerch, along with the dependable Steve Carlton. That staff does not conjure up the image of a pennant waving from Veterans Stadium. 


"Everybody's concerned with our pitching but I'm not," insists Green.


Green said he is neither counting on the return of Nino Espinosa nor thinking of transferring short reliever Dickie Noles to a starting spot. 


What brings the best out of Ott when he comes to Philadelphia? 


"It's one of those things," said the burly catcher. "My home is in Allentown and a lot of people come to the game. Also, this is a big rivalry. Everybody's up for each other."