Camden Courier-Post - October 3, 1980
Phils sweep Cubs, gain tie for lead
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – You could say these last four games against the Cubs have been both the best of times and the worst of times for the Phillies.
The worst of times began as soon as Dallas Green exercised his right as manager and altered the starting lineup. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the best of times have been concurrent.
Off the field, some of the Phillies have spent much of the past four days engaged in a power struggle with their manager. Not all of the hardball has taken place on the field.
BUT BETWEEN the white lines, where it counts most, the Phillies have attended to business in admirable fashion. Last night, before 23,806 damp fans, the Phils put the finishing touches on a four-game sweep of Chicago with a 4-2 victory.
There's no doubt the key to the series was Monday's game, when the Phillies rallied from a two-run deficit to win in the bottom of the 15th inning. Last night's victory, however, tugged the Phils into a first-place tie with Montreal in the National League East Division.
Just in case you didn't know, the two teams will decide the division championship this weekend in the chill of Montreal.
ROOKIE RIGHTHANDER Bob Walk picked an opportune time to find himself, pitching 7⅓ strong innings. Walk survived an 89-minute rain delay and two jams with runners on third before Tug McGraw relieved him in the eighth.
The big hits came from quarters both familiar and strange. Mike Schmidt delivered his 46th home run of the season a career high off unknown Randy Martz to tie the game, 1-1. That came as no real surprise, since 10 of Schmidt's homers have come since Sept. 1. He is one shy of Eddie Mathews' major-league record for home runs by a third baseman set in 1957.
A somewhat less familiar occurrence was a one-out double in the seventh by Del Unser, who again started in center field. Unser has been strictly a parttime player all season, doing some pinchhitting and some mop-up work at first base.
INDEED, HE got a chance to play center during this series only because Green wanted to purge his lineup and incumbent Garry Maddox fell sudden prey to a finger injury.
Unser nevertheless sliced an 0-2 fastball off reliever Bill Caudill into the left-field corner for two bases, then scampered home behind a single by Keith Moreland Green's catcher of the night.
The run gave the Phils a 2-1 lead that would grow to 4-1 with a couple of unearned runs in the eighth. McGraw outlasted an error by Schmidt and an RBI double by Mike Vail in the ninth to nail down his 19th save.
For the most part, Walk had a good time, matching a career high by fanning seven Cubs. But he was in trouble with one out in the second when Mike Tyson drilled a triple to right field.
Walk threw a ball to the next hitter, Mike O'Berry, then the rains that would pelt the Vet intermittently throughout the night interrupted play. Nearly an hour and a half later, Walk got O'Berry to pop up and struck out Martz.
WALK PERMITTED only two more hits until the seventh, when Jim Tracy opened with a triple to left-center that put the go-ahead run on third. Walk slithered free of that jam by getting pinchhitter Jesus Figueroa to bounce to the mound, catching O'Berry looking at a 3-2 slider and inducing pinchhitter Scot Thompson into hitting a routine fly to right.
PHIL UPS - Phils drew 2,651,650 fans this season... Rookie Marty Bystrom, who was 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA in September, was named Pitcher of the Month... Last 12 Phillies home runs have been solo shots… Schmidt now leads league in RBIs with 117 and home runs... He's second in runs scored with 102.
Now it all boils down to three games
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – "I told you it was going right to the last weekend."
Indeed, Phillies Manager Dallas Green has been saying since mid-August that the National League East Division would not be decided until the bitter end. And now, after 159 games, some 11th-hour lineup changes and untold crisis, his team has proved him correct.
The Phillies and the Expos, who have been jockeying for position since April, will reveal the identity of the East's champion during a three-game series this weekend in Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The teams go into the showdown with twin 89-70 records, needing two victories to clinch it.
A 4-2 victory over Chicago gave the Phils a sweep of the four-game series and edged them into the first-place tie with the Expos, who were off last night after sweeping St. Louis.
"It's certainly better than having to look at the scoreboard to see what's going on (in Montreal)," said Green. "We've played pretty darn good baseball with our backs to the wall for a long time. We've gotten the job done."
The two teams seem as evenly matched as their identical records. Both are primarily righthanded clubs with excellent starting pitching, sound bullpens and solid defenses. The Expos have more team speed than the Phillies, but the Phils possess more potential power. On paper, the Phillies have a better defense. And on paper, the Expos have an advantage playing in their home park, Olympic Stadium, before their home fans.
"YOU CAN go pro and con with the two teams," said Green. "Both of us have to win two of three, which is a large order at home or on the road. Both will be going for blood now. Both will be going for the jugular. That first game will be important, no doubt about that."
Tonight's series opener features righthanders Dick Ruthven and Scott Sanderson. Ruthven has won a career-high 16 games for the Phillies. Sanderson, who beat the Phillies, 4-3, last Saturday, matches Ruthven's 16-10 record. Oft-injured Larry Christenson (5-1) pitches tomorrow against Bill Gullickson (10-5) in a game that could be the clincher for whomever wins tonight. Should Sunday matter, Green will use Steve Carlton (24-9) against Steve Rogers (16-11).
"We are not afraid of the road and we're " not afraid of their stadium," said Green. "They came in here and beat us in our ballpark, so they know it can be done. We've had pressure on us all month and the pitching has held up with an offense that has been sporadic at best."
WHILE THE Expos have been all but omnipotent at home this season, the Phillies have played well on the road. Besides, in a series of this magnitude home and road records have little significance.
What may be a decisive factor, according to third baseman Mike Schmidt, is how well catchers Bob Boone and Keith More-land handle the Montreal base runners, who've been known to steal a base or two.
"They have a little more speed than we do," Schmidt said. "They have guys who run at will. I think the performance of Boonie, or Keith, or whoever's catching, may be the key.
Phils got the feelin' with a new attitude
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – It wasn't exactly Frank Sinatra or Mario Lanza, but what the booming voice bouncing off the tile shower in the Phillies' lockerroom lacked in range and pitch, it more than made up for in conviction and enthusiasm.
"I got the feelin"... Oh, I got the feelin'," sang Manager Dallas Green.
You won't find that song on the Top-1 0 charts or tucked away on a golden-oldies album. Yet, it just might repre-' sent a "new wave" attitude the Phils took with them to Montreal, an opening number for three games of rocking and rolling with the Expos.
As they have throughout the summer, the Phils used the little ditty last night in their 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Only this time around, the entire choir was in place.
"You got the feelin'?" someone on the bench called to utility infielder John Vukovich.
"I got the feelin... oh, I got the feelin" he answered, just as he'd been doing since spring training.
"It's our theme," said reliever Tug McGraw. "Only none of you pay any attention to Vuk because all he does is run around here helping everybody and keeping everyone on the bench motivated."
The fact that, during much of the pennant race, the air has been filled with more sour notes than amateur night on Devils Island makes one skeptical about the Phils' chances of suddenly harmonizing like the Beach Boys.
But then, if this writer's night can end with shortstop Larry Bowa stopping by to make friendly small talk, it's possible that the Phils could come away from this thing sounding like the Doobie Brothers instead of the Spike Jones orchestra.
"Look around," said left fielder Greg Luzinski. "It's coming together. Guys are pulling together.
"There's not any pressure now. Pressure is having to win fourstraight... off any team. We knew that sometime during this series, Chicago could get a lead, bring a guy like Bruce Sutter out of the bullpen to protect the lead and we'd be in trouble.
"Yet, we won. And, I'll tell you, this club is confident now. At times during the year, there were doubts. Not now." ,
If that is music to the ears of Phillies' fans, then a curtain call is due for arranger and conductor Dallas Green, who cracked so many batons over swollen heads, he might make it to the Outraged Maestro Hall of Fame.
Throughout the season, Green had played the same refrain – he wanted the boys in the band to engage in a specific program designed to keep their legs in shape. And, he wanted them to use their pre-game time to get their heads into baseball.
Some players avoided the workouts, got muscle pulls in their legs and got the same kind of a reaction from Green that you'd get if you dragged the needle across Dick Clark's original recording of Buddy Holly singing, "That'll be the Day."
Although he refuses to discuss it, word is that what really sent the manager into a drum-kicking, guitar-smashing kind of mood was losing to the Expos last Saturday and then discovering that some of his players were preparing themselves for Sunday's showdown by skipping infield practice in order to watch football games in the lockerroom lounge.
You can bet that won't be the case this weekend. And, the biggest reason for that is the fact that the Phillies have come face to face with the undeniable truth – like it or not, Green has cajoled, praised and embarrassed them into being a better team than even they thought possible.
"Yeah, even Bowa," said Luzinski with a smile. "Larry popped off. But, look at him. He's backing it up on the field."
If you don't think that's exactly what Green cares about, then you don't know the Phils' manager.
He has finally gotten the wallflowers of the National League moving to the beat. And, although it's not the easy tune to dance to, you've got to give it a 95 for the words.
"I got the feelin ... Oh, I’ve got the feelin’.”