Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - October 3, 1980

Phils Tie Expos For NL East Lead


Schmidt hits 46th, Phils win 4-2


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer


PHILADELPHIA--On to Montreal. Two-out-of-three, winner take all. No tomorrows.


One hundred and 59 games played m the National League East and still no winner. Two at the top, the Phillies and Expos. Thursday night's 4-2 Philadelphia win over Chicago set it up that way, all even.


"Amazing." Pete Rose said. "You play 162 games and it boils down to who's going to win two-out-of-three. You don't even look at the records any more, it's a three game series now. And I think we should win it. We're playing with a lot of intensity and playing good defensive baseball.


"Sure it's up there, but this seems to be the year for teams to go to other team's parks and win."


Montreal took two of three from the Phillies last weekend at Veterans Stadium. The last time the Phils played at Olympic Stadium, they took two of three from the Expos.


Flip a coin, it should be that tight, starting with tonight's game. Pressure on both sides.


"The pressure will be on who's pitching with a runner on third and two out." Rose said. "And the pressure will be on who's hitting with a man on third and two out. Both sides will be under the gun."


"We've got to get out early on them to win," Mike Schmidt said. "We have to cut down on their ability to run the bases, steal bases. They're a right-handed hitting team and we're a right-handed hitting team. They're going to pitch right-handers and we're going to pitch right-handers. The pitching is going to make the difference.


"As far as the lineups go, I think we have more power." Schmidt said, "especially at the top of the lineup. We're got a couple of guys who can hit the ball out real quick."


And so the stage is set, head-to-head competition right down to the wire. And although the Phils have won it three of the last four years, this time around it's a different ending.


In 1976, 1977 and even in 1978 when they went to Pittsburgh and won it all on the next to the last game of the season, they did go into the final weekend of the regular season in first place. In 1976 and 1977 the Phils had it locked up before the final weekend.


This time it's dead even. A loss Thursday night would have put the Phils one game back with three to play. Now it's one-on-one in a three-game mini playoff series.


"It's certainly better than having to look at the Scoreboard to know what's going on," Green said. "Now we'll know rather quickly. I'll tell you one thing, we've been playing pretty good baseball for a long, long time with our backs against the wall, and we got the job done."


Tonight, though, another beginning. And having to do it, according to latest Montreal weather reports, in 34-degree temperature. But give the Phils the edge.


For the first time this season, at least as far back as anyone could remember, it was a different clubhouse after Thursday night's win. No one went and hide, which has been the usual practice, win or lose.


There was an air of excitement, wanting and the feel of doing something just a little bit better in the next three games.


"I certainly believe we can win it," Tug McGraw said. "We are healthy, excited and everyone seems keyed up. Everyone wants it, which makes me feel happy."


McGraw was happy, but unlike a couple of seasons gone by, without a slogan. Remember, it was he who said, "You gotta' believe."


"I don't have one." McGraw said, "but John Vukovich has had one all year. He's been saying ail along, 'I've got that feeling.' No one's made a big deal of it. because
he's not an everyday player not a super star. But he's one guy who's been keeping our bench alive. He keeps us going, fires us up. and this has meant a lot to us."


EXTRA BASES-Tonight's game as well as tomorrow and Sunday's, will be televised by Channel 17 ...Phils drew 2,651,650 for the season at home, 123,361 short of last year's total....Phils have won 19 of last 25 road games and are 40-38 for the season, best road record since 1976 when they were 48-33....Phils have won 17 of last 24... Since the All-Star break they are 49-35. Montreal is 48-36 Dick Ruthven goes against Scot Sanderson tonight; Steve Rogers against Larry Christenson Saturday (2:15 p.m.) and Bill Gullickson against Steve Carlton on Sunday (3.05 p.m.)