Wilmington Morning News - October 3, 1980
Phils sweep Cubs, face Expos best-of-3 for title
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA – And now for the showdown.
Dallas Green said the National League East race would go down to the final day in Montreal and it looks like it just might.
"That's the way it should be," said the manager after the Phillies beat the Cubs 4-2 here last night on Mike Schmidt's 46th homer, Keith Moreland's clutch RBI single and a crucial Cub throwing error for two unearned runs, all of which threw the NL East into a flat-footed tie.
"It's certainly better than having to look at the scoreboard. You're gonna know rather quick," Green smiled.
Three games in Olympic Stadium will decide a winner between the Phils and Expos. There can be no tie now. The team that takes two of three games in Montreal will face the Western Division champ – likely the Astros who need to beat Los Angeles just once in the next three games.
"We feel rather confident about what we have to do," said Green, whose team has won 19 of its last 25 on the road. "We're not afraid of the road or their stadium. We play better there than most teams. The Expos beat us in our park, so they know it can be done."
The guy who got the job done last night was rookie right-hander Bob Walk, who escaped a pair of jams with men at third and won only his second of eight decisions since Aug. 16.
"I guess this was the most important game of my life," said Walk, "but each one seems more important than the last. I'd like to pitch against Montreal – I think I could beat them – but that's not going to be."
Del Unser, back in center field again, got the Phils rolling with a double in the seventh and scored on Moreland's line single past second, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead.
Chicago kayoed Walk with one out in the eighth after Steve Dillard walked and Bill Buckner singled to center.
Green brought in Tug McGraw, who needed just two pitches to retire the side on Larry Biittner's double-play hopper to Schmidt.
The Phils added two key insurance runs in the eighth when the Cub defense collapsed around Bruce Sutter.
Pete Rose singled with one out and raced home when Dillard threw Schmidt's grounder past second for a three-base error.
Greg Gross singled Schmidt home, moved to second on an error in left and to third on a wild pitch. That's all the Phils got but it was enough to sweep the Cubs four straight games.
"Anytime you beat anybody four straight, you have to be doing something right," said Rose. "Win four in a row and you just can't wait to get the park."
Walk's early wildness disappeared after a rain delay of an hour and 29 minutes, but a first-inning walk cost a run. Walk walked shortstop Ivan DeJesus, who stole second, then scored on Bill Buckner's one-out single to center.
Walk somehow got better once the rain stopped.
"He seemed to get in a groove and he stayed in it," said catcher Moreland. He had an exceptional fastball tonight."
Green was particularly impressed when Walk escaped from jams in the second and seventh innings, both times with runners on third.
"There's no way you can pitch any better than Bobby did in those jams," said Green. "He really needed this game – and the team needed it."
Mike Tyson welcomed Walk back from the rain delay with a one-out triple to right. But Walk got Mike O'Berry on a pop to short and struck out pitcher Randy Martz to end the inning.
After Schmidt tied the game in the fourth with his 46th homer of the season, an awesome shot to straightaway center, Walk breezed until Jim Tracy opened the seventh with a ball that eluded Unser's lunging grasp in center.
But Walk coolly got Jesus Figueroa on a chopper down the first-base line, glaring Tracy back to third before tagging Figueroa. O'Berry looked at a third strike and pinch-hitter Scot Thompson flied to right.
“The only bad pitch he made was the one to Tracy," said Moreland, "and that came at a time when a run could've cost us."
But it didn't and Moreland took care of putting the Phils ahead with his clutch single in the bottom of the seventh.
Chicago got just two hits off Walk in the middle four innings, but Cub rookie Martz was baffling the Phillies' batters stride-for-stride with Walk.
Martz's off-speed assortment, plus the fact that he was facing the Phils for the first time in his career, were ingredients that the Phillies found hard to handle.
They had only to think of pitchers like the Cards' Al Olmsted, Atlanta's Tommy Boggs and the Mets' Mark Bomback to know what was in store last night.
But once Martz left, they went to work against loser Bill Caudill, helping the 23,806 fans to breathe easier in anticipation of what lies ahead this weekend.
"We've played damn good baseball for a long time with our backs, against the wall," said Green. "With some driving, we got the job done."
Phillies’ McGraw orchestrates wins
By Rusty Pray, Gannett News Service
PHILADELPHIA – He has been known to appear dressed in Army fatigues before a game, playfully squirt fans with water and orchestrate cheers while striding from the pitcher's mound.
He is an acknowledged master of the art of catching pop-ups behind his back.
He goes about his life as a relief pitcher according to a "frozen snowball" philosophy.
And his best pitch, the screwball, could well serve as a personality profile.
He is Frank Edwin McGraw, know more widely as simply Tug.
And he is one of the primary reasons why the Philadelphia Phillies are challenging to the National League East Division championship.
McGraw, the lefthanded reliever who coined the slogan "You Gotta Believe" while leading the New York Mets to one of their two pennants, has, at age 36, emerged this season as one of baseball's most valuable firemen.
Going into last night's game, he had won four games and saved 18 others. In 85⅔ innings, he had allowed a miserly 60 hits and 15 runs. His earned run average was a stunning 1.58.
"Without Tug we're not anywhere, let's face it," manager Dallas Green said. "He's been in the bullpen. He's been Mr. Consistency and Mr. Clutch.
"We had been kind of sporadic in terms of our bullpen. We'd get a good performance from one guy a couple times out, then the next couple he's not there. You can't win pennants that way and you can't shut games down that way."
Green knows whereof he speaks.
The Phillies went into 1980 with serious questions concerning their bullpen.
McGraw, who was coming off a year in which his ERA had ballooned to 5.14 and he had tied a National League record by permitting four grand slams, was mentioned more than once as possible trade material.
His age, his mediocre 1979 statistics and the uncertainty that surrounded the entire pitching staff all pointed toward him pitching for some other team this year.
But the trade never materilaized, making it one of the best deals general manager Paul Owens never made.
"I am having a good year," McGraw allowed. "The first week of the season I struggled a little bit – as most pitchers do – but I've been consistent after that."
Indeed, he has been nothing short of sensational since returning from the disabled list on July 17.
McGraw had developed tendinitis in his left arm from experimenting with a sidearm delivery. (His normal delivery is direct overhand).
"That is the logical reason why I hurt my arm, so we'll put it (throwing sidearm) away until about '85," he said after rejoining the Phillies.
Mostly, McGraw has been putting opposing hitters away.
In the month of September, while the Phillies were battling Montreal for first place, McGraw recorded all four of his wins and saved three games. In 19 and one-third innings, covering 12 appearances, he had not allowed a run.
Since returning from the disabled list, he fashioned a 0.58 ERA during the course of 30 appearances.
"I think our team has been very confident when Tug comes in a game (because) we're going to shut the other team down," Green said. "It's up to them, then, to score."
Added Dick Ruthven, a starter who has had more than one of his career-high 16 wins saved by McGraw: "Tug's in a beautiful groove – by far the best I've seen a relief pitcher in. You can't get much better than he has been."
McGraw's attitude has been perhaps as important to the Phillies as his pitching.
He is a breath of fresh air in a clubhouse that often is as stuffy as an executive meeting room.
His is an emotional personality on a team seemingly afraid to show its emotions.
"I enjoy playing the game," he said. "I think playing with (Gil) Hodges was the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me that if you want to be a pitcher and take the ball out on the mound and throw it, you've got to take the consequences. If they're good, you've got to enjoy them; if they're bad, you've got to learn to accept them.
"The more able you are to learn to accept the consequences of what happens after you throw the ball, the more successful you're going to be and the fewer failures you're going to have."
McGraw recently was unable to accept the consequences of a pitch he threw to Los Angeles' Joe Ferguson.
It was supposed to be the second ball of an intentional walk, but he got it too close to the plate and Ferguson punched it into right field for a two-run single. He was so incensed he threw at the next hitter, Bill Russell, who charged the mound and touched off a bench-clearing brawl after he was hit by McGraw's fourth attempt.
McGraw later publicly apologized for his actions and showed up at a game in Dodger Stadium wearing a green Army outfit.
He was, he explained, trying to camouflage himself from any grudge-carrying Dodger fans.
"If you can't laugh at yourself once in awhile and use that as a tool to accept failures, then you're going to continue to have more and more failures and you're going to be out of the game," he said.
"It's that 'Frozen Snowball Theory' I came up with a few years ago. Basically, it's a humorous way of describing an approach to the game."