Los Angeles Times - May 4, 1980

Phils’ 7-3 Win Over the Dodgers a Murder Mystery


By Richard Hoffer, Times Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – As far as the Dodgers are concerned, Veterans Stadium is a kind of major league Bermuda Triangle. Season after season they enter Philadelphia air space, flying high, only to be wiped from National League radar screens. Sometimes the wreckage is discovered, sometimes not. It gets pretty mysterious.


"I sure don't know what it is," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said Saturday after the Phillies had beaten his club, 7-3, "Seems like we've had problems here ever since the (1978) playoffs. What are we here 0-8? And four of those by one run. We came in here last year three different times leading in the eighth inning. And lost."


The Dodgers were 0-6 here last year but the statistic wasn't all that significant. The Dodgers, struggling most of the season, lost in other parks, too. More important, they are now 0-2 this season, going into today's series -ending game. All it took was a trip to Veterans Stadium to turn a 10-game Dodger winning streak into a two-game losing streak – less than 24 hours.


As bad and as unexplained as the Dodgers' luck has been here over the last two seasons (they were 3-3 here in the 1978 season), there was absolutely no mystery to Saturday afternoon's game, played before 35,011 fans.


Here's what it came down to: Dodger pitcher Burt Hooton couldn't keep his pitches down and Philly sluggers Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt couldn't help get them up.


Hooton, normally tough on the Phils (not here, though), was coming off an unusually long rest. Due to a series of off-days, he hadn't pitched in nine days. "I'm not using it as an excuse," he said, "but you can't help but lose a little crispness. Normally, on those off-days, I'd have worked out. It takes its toll, especially when you're used to pitching every fifth day."


For all that, Hooton still didn't get much work. After retiring the first three batters on ground balls, Hooton ran into the power position of the Phillies' batting order, the part that likes to decorate outfield loge seats with sizeable dings. Schmidt, who homered the previous night, found the left-field seats again and Luzinski, who also homered the night before, drilled one beyond the 408-foot marker in center. It was No. 6 for both.


"He just couldn't get the ball down," La-sorda said of Hooton. "We thought maybe his shoulder was bothering him but he said no. He was just throwing everything upstairs and you can't do that against these guys."


Hooton agreed. "For these guys, you need a little stuff on your pitches," Hooton (2-2) explained.


Lasorda, who left reliever Charlie Hough in too long in the previous night's loss, was patient again. With approximately the same results. Before Dodger reliever Bob Castillo got the Dodgers out of the inning, the Phillies had batted around, scoring six runs on six hits.


"You can come back from 6-0," Lasorda said, "but what that does to you is take some things away from you, running, things like that"


Evidently, it took it all away from the Dodgers. Although they managed eight hits, only three of them went through the infield. The Dodgers weren't exactly getting to starter and winner Larry Christen-son (2-0).


Christenson, who missed his last turn with a groin injury, was healthy enough to make the Dodgers look ailing. "My slider was the big thing," he said, explaining his mastery over 6 23 innings. The only time his injury was apparent was when he singled off Castillo in the fourth. Well, first base was as far as he got, anyway. Here's how slow he was on the bases: It took a double and a sacrifice fly to get him home.


But the way the rest of the lineup was abusing Dodger pitching, the Phils could have rounded the bases doing handstands. There's not much urgency to baserunning when the ball is resting safely in the upper deck.


Dodger Notes


Schmidt said there wasn't much mystery to the Phils hitting, either. "I read in the papers where we hit 19 of 100 or something like that, he said. "The law of averages say we're gonna hit better than that. It doesn't matter who's coming in or how good they throw, we're bound to break loose." Schmidt downplayed the importance of the 1980 season to the Phillies, a talented but not exactly young team. "Pivotal year?" he asked. "I don't know. I'd say it's more of a pivotal year for the Dodgers"... The Dodgers send Dave Goltz (2-2) to the mound against Randy Lerch (0-3) in an attempt to win here. That game, to be televised in Los Angeles, will begin at 10:15 a.m. (PDT)... Reggie Smith’s RBI tear ended at eight games Saturday. He went hitless, also, to stop a seven-game hitting streak... The Dodger relief corps, which faltered briefly when Hough had control problems Friday night, got back on track Saturday. Castillo gave up a run but Joe Beckwith and Jerry Reuss each turned in scoreless stints of two innings apiece. Reuss has allowed just one earned run in five appearances (15 innings) this year. Beckwith, a rookie, has yet to give up a run in three games (four innings)... Phillies center fielder Garry Maddox twisted his right ankle chasing Mike Sciocia's triple in the ninth inning. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays.