Wilmington Evening Journal - October 3, 1980
Phils out for Expos ‘blood’
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – No prisoners!
That, in so many words, is the Phillies' battle cry as they approach the weekend's winner-take-all series with the Montreal Expos for the National League East title.
Once the Phils had disposed of Chicago 4-2 last night at Veterans Stadium to complete a four-game sweep of the Cubs, putting the Phillies in a deadlock for the lead with the idle Expos, Manager Dallas Green sat back and surveyed the job at hand, which is winning two of three games in Olympic Stadium, starting tonight.
"Both clubs have to win two of three and that's a large order at this time of the year," Green said. "We've done well on the road (winning 19 of their last 25) and we've played some great games up there.
"We're going for blood now. Everybody's going for the jugular. The first game will be very important,"
In other words, Dick Ruthven vs. Scott Sanderson tonight, damn the torpedoes and swing at anything that's close.
Green and the players do not particularly fear playing in Olympic Stadium before large, boisterous crowds who haven't been used to a winner before.
"We could put pressure on them by scoring early," said Pete Rose, who singled off loser Bill Caudill and scored the eventual winning run on a three-base throwing error by Steve Dillard in the eighth inning last night.
"They've got good fans up there but they're not emotional like the Philadelphia fans. They may lead the league in standing ovations tomorrow, but they'll get down, too, if the Expos get behind."
Score early and go for the jugular, that is Dallas Green's battle plan. And if the pressure of performing well before the home folks shifts to the Expos, all the better.
"We're not afraid of playing on the road," Green said, "and we're not afraid of that stadium. We've played better there than most teams. I don't think there will be an edge for either team.
"They (Expos) are looking for a tough grind. They beat us two-of-three in our park, so they know it can be done."
And Green feels his supercharged team is primed to do it.
"We feel rather confident about the job we have to do," he said. "We've played damn good baseball for a long time with our backs to the wall. With some driving, we've got the job done."
Green, who has done the driving with a bull-whip at times, will throw Larry Christenson at Expo ace Steve Rogers tomorrow afternoon, with Steve Carlton slated against Bill Gullickson in Sunday's possible rubber match.
One guy who won't pitch, but would love to, is right-hander Bob Walk, who turned in one of his best games ever last night.
"Sure, it's my most important game," said Walk after blitzing the Cubs on six hits in 7⅓ innings and striking out seven, "but it seems every game gets more important.
"I'd like to pitch against Montreal. I think I can beat 'em, but that's not going to be. But if he (Green) needs me as a reliever, I'll be ready."
Walk, who was 1-5 with three no-decisions since Aug. 16, escaped from two jams with runners on third last night to earn Green's praise.
"He pitched out of super jams and there's no way you could pitch any better than Bobby did in those situations," Green said. "He needed this game, and the team did, too."
Walk surrendered a first-inning run after walking Ivan DeJesus, who stole second and scored on Bill Buckner's single. After a rain delay of an hour and 29 minutes in the second inning, Walk was greeted by Mike Tyson's one-out triple, but he got the next two batters.
After Mike Schmidt tied the score 1-1 with his 46th homer, an awesome shot to straightaway center in the fourth, Walk breezed until Jim Tracy led off the Cubs' seventh with a triple to center.
But Walk got the next three hitters, impressing Green and the 23.806 customers with his gunslinger's nerve.
"Bobby came back from the rain delay stronger than before," said catcher Keith Moreland, "and the only bad pitch he made was the one to Tracy. But it came at a time when a run could've cost us."
Instead, Moreland turned the tables by singling home Del Unser, who had doubled with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
The Phils tacked on a pair of unearned runs in the eighth on two Cub errors. Those proved to be the insurance they needed as Chicago pecked away for an unearned run of its own in the ninth after Schmidt's throwing error.
"It all boils down to a three-game series now," said Rose, who played in his 2.827th game to pass Eddie Collins for eighth place on the all-time list. "Andre Dawson and Gary Carter are swinging well for them, but Mike Schmidt's got a hot bat right now.
"I'm glad we played tonight and they had the night off... to sit back and worry. Win four in a row and you can't wait to get to the park. And this has been a year of winning in the other team's park."
EXTRA INNINGS - Schmidt's 46 homers and 117 RBI are single-season highs for the third baseman who could be heading for an MVP season... Rookie Marty Bystrom, called up on Sept. 1, was named the NL pitcher of the month for his 5-0 record and 1.50 ERA... Phils' total attendance was 2,651,650, third-best in club history... Phils have won 17 of their last 24 games... Since the All-Star break, Phils are 49-35, Expos 48-36... All three Phils-Expos' games will be on Channel 17.
Montreal buzzing as crucial series opens
MONTREAL – People who can't tell you who won the World Series last year are adamant that Montreal Expos will win the 1980 classic.
After 11 seasons as also-rans – just barely also-rans last year, to be sure – the Expos stand ready to win their first division title in the National League, and the city is abuzz with baseball talk.
A weekend series starting tonight against Philadelphia is supposed to determine the issue in the East Division. The teams are deadlocked at 89-70.
Scott Sanderson opposes Dick Ruthven of the Phillies in the opener, tonight in front of what should be a packed Olympic Stadium. Both starters are 16-10.
Steve Rogers gets the call Saturday, with Larry Christenson going for Philadelphia. The Phillies will send their ace left-hander, Steve Carlton, to the mound Sunday, while the Expos will hand the ball to rookie phenom Bill Gullickson.
"There are still a few seats left,"' a club spokesman said yesterday of the game tonight. "They're all upstairs and in the corners, but there are seats left."
Apart from 6,600 seats that always go on sale only on the day of a game, the Sunday game has been sold out since earlier this week.
While the Phillies were beating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 last night, the Expos had the day off to contemplate the most important series in the club's history.
"They're relaxing with their families and recharging their batteries," the spokesman said. Manager Dick Williams preferred the club to be fully rested than to have another day's work.