Allentown Morning Call - May 4, 1980

Phils get some good swings for second straight game, but…


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies were less than impressive last week while dropping two of three games at home to the Cardinals and scoring just two runs in a 1-1 split with the Mets in New York. For the most part, the pitchers didn't pitch and the hitters didn't hit. When one did, the other didn't. 


It wasn't surprising, then, that Mike Schmidt was in a less than euphoric mood yesterday after the Phils' 7-3 win over Los Angeles – one for which he supplied the impetus with a Ruthian home run that ignited a six-run second-inning rally. 


"The law of averages says we were gonna' start pounding the ball," the muscular third baseman said after the Phils had punctuated their breaking of the Dodgers' 10-game win streak a night earlier with a well-rounded full-team effort.


"We're starting to get some good swings as a team today we put some together in the second inning," he said. "But when you win three in a row just to get back to the .500 mark, it by no means indicates that we've reasserted ourselves as we should. 


"We've gotten some good swings two days in a row now, but I still don't think we've achieved consistency." 


Although the Dodgers broke through against starter and winner Larry Christenson for two runs in the seventh and added one in the ninth off reliever Lerrin LaGrow, both pitchers turned in strong performances. And the game, for all practical purposes, was decided in the second when the Phils lit up Dodger starter Burt Hooten like a Christmas tree. 


Schmidt spread gasoline on the woodpile with a blast over the fence in left that arrived at the "Bull Ring" sign on the facing of the upper deck in a big hurry. Luzinski applied the match by sending a tracer off the Independence Hall motif on the canvas backdrop just to the right of the 408-foot sign in center. 


Hooten had brushed the Phils aside in the first inning with consummate ease – so there was no reason to expect the unmerciful strafing in the second. But by the time Luzinski completed his 360-foot trot, home plate seemed like a launching pad. Bob Boone caught the mood and struck a triple off the wall in rightcenter, just out of the reach of rightfielder Reggie Smith. 


Pitching coach Red Adams paid Hooten a visit, but whatever he said didn't work, because Larry Bowa singled in Boone. Bowa promptly stole second and was singled in by Luis Aguayo. 


After Christenson sacrificed, Pete Rose drew a walk. Bake McBride sent Aguayo home, Rose to third and Hooten to the showers with a single to center – the Phils' sixth hit of the inning. Reliever Bob Castillo greeted Garry Maddox with a brushback pitch, but Maddox sent a sacrifice fly to right for the final run of the inning. 


Maddox, who drove in the Phils' final run with another sacrifice fly two innings later, was injured in the top of the ninth when he slipped as he stepped on the warning track in pursuit of catcher Mike Scioscia's leadoff triple.


Maddox's injury was the one ominous note for Dallas Green, who answered a writer's question about it this way: "What will I do if he can't play? Put someone else in. Who? I'll figure that out when we get there." 


Trainer Don Seger said the injury was "probably a bad sprain" and sent the fleet centerfielder to the hospital for X-rays. As Maddox was being wheeled down a ramp to field level en route to the hospital. Rose quipped, "Just let the thing go. If Garry jumps off before it gets to the end, we'll know it's not broken." 


Christenson, despite pitching with the remnants of a groin pull that caused him to miss a start, was in total control until the seventh. He finished with four strikeouts and three walks in 6⅓ innings. He allowed four hits and two runs, but three of the hits (two by Ron Cey) were definitely "Astroturfjobs–" balls that would have been routine outs on natural grass. 


"I felt really good," L. C. said later. "The arm felt fine. The groin felt a little tired, but not hurt. When I got the hit (a fourth inning single off the wall in left on which he was only able to trot) I felt it tighten up, but it loosened up again in the sixth and seventh." 


Christenson had everything in a nice rhythm right from the start and said. "I had a good fast ball and the slider was my best pitch although I didn't have the slider in warmups. Everything fell in place today and it's a real pickup; it should also be a pickup for tomorrow's (today's) game." 


Green, whose pitching staff looked like a disaster zone until Dick Ruthven had a good outing against the Dodgers Friday night, was pleased. Two good games in a row from the two starters who've been struggling can do that for a manager – especially when they come against the hottest team in baseball. 


“L.C. gave us a good effort when we needed it most. I've been telling you guys all along you weren't seeing the real Phillies. The players knew they had to get their act together – and they're doing it more. "


Every time I send a guy out there, I'm a six or seven-inning guy. I'm happy if he can give me the real good effort that long. 


"Just as I couldn't expect Rufus (Ruthven) to go out there and blow through nine innings right away, I couldn't expect L. C. to, either." 


Now, if he can just get Nino Espinosa back…