Philadelphia Daily News - September 13, 1980
Black Friday for Phils
2 Back After Cards Sweep
By Bill Conlin
You should know the other guy's act pretty well by this stage of the season. You better know it. .
If you've got competent advance scouting and coaches who keep their eyes open, you should know the opposition's hit-and-run tendencies, who's up there to fake a bunt and who's up there to fake it and swing away. By mid-September, you should know a team's fingerprints on sight.
By mid-September, you should know a lot of things.
Which is why Dallas Green took the hit-and-run off last night in the eighth inning of the second game of a Black Friday doubleheader with the Cardinals, a doubleheader the. Phillies lost, 7-4 and 5-0 in 11 painful innings.
Pete Rose was the runner at first after drawing a one-out walk off screwballing rookie lefthander Al Olmsted. Mike Schmidt was the hitter. The count was 1-0, the score 0-0 and Lee Elia had just relayed the hit-and-run sign from the bench.
THERE ISN’T much time to take off a sign when the pitcher's on the rubber peering in at his catcher. But Green and his bench brain trust saw something that made them erase the hit-and-run. Or try to.
"We saw them give something from the bench and we didn't have time to take it off," Green said after the Phillies dropped two games behind Montreal with their fourth doubleheader loss of the season.
Green guessed the Cardinals had stolen the hit-and-run sign and he flashed the take-off to Elia. But Elia couldn't give the message to Schmidt because the major-league home-run leader never looked back down.
Sure enough, the Cardinals pitched out and catcher Terry Kennedy gunned Rose out at second. Schmidt, a hitter much more accustomed to getting the hit-it-out than he is the hit-and-run, took the pitch.
It was a small detail on an evening when inattention to small details fell on the Phillies, like safes dropping from 20-story windows. All it proves, if it proves anything, is that on Sept.12 the going-nowhere Cardinals had their heads into the game a little better than a team which has a division title within reaching distance.
There was certainly more visible evidence in the Phillies most disquieting loss since the 10-3 debacle in San Diego.
Take the bottom of the 10th, for instance, and Dallas Green wishes you would.
LONNIE SMITH led it off with a walk, broke a stolen base drought with No. 29 and went skidding into third when Kennedy's throw deflected into center. Smith stole on a 2-2 pitch to Rose by Jim Kaat, who wound up walking the first baseman. Interim Manager Red Schoendienst brought in righthander John Little-field and he walked Schmidt to load the bases with one out.
Greg Luzinski rapped into an inning-ending double play and there was a lot of 400 Level second-guessing that Green should have sent up Bake McBride in an effort to stay out of a double play. McBride is hitting .311, is the hottest hitter in the lineup right now and has driven in 76 runs.
On the other hand, it was a brutal second-guess when you consider that Luzinski has been one of baseball's most feared clutch hitters for years. However, Bull is still struggling to find a consistent hitting groove after coming back from knee surgery and he is not going to beat many double-play relays.
"Bull's driven in a lot of big runs for us, especially lately," Green said. "I never considered sending anybody else up in that spot. He got a big hit for us in each of the Pittsburgh games."
OK, lose two in front of 44,093 fans, some of whom received their playoff and World Series ticket forms in the mail yesterday, and you're gonna get a lot of nit-picking.
THE TOP OF the 11th was a certified nightmare. Behind them, Nino Espinosa and Tug McGraw had left 10 innings of brilliant pitching. Espinosa's location and change-of-speeds were perfect for seven innings of four-hit work. McGraw retired all nine hitters he faced.
After them came the deluge.
Ken Reitz led off the inning with a double to right. Littlefield came up to bunt and he did a lousy job, raising a little popup in front of the plate. The bunt was so bad it won the Cardinals a ballgame.
A rotation was on, which means that Schmidt was charging the plate as Ron Reed came out of the stretch. Larry Bowa was streaking for third ahead of pinch-runner Mike Ramsey. Bob Boone was moving out, the ball over him somewhere. Under the circumstance, it became Schmidt's play all the way. He was almost on the catcher as he lunged to make the catch and the ball ticked away. The Cardinals had runners on first and third with nobody out
Green jerked Reed after the veteran ran a 2-0 count on Ken Oberkfell. He brought in Randy Lerch, who walked the second baseman on a 3-2 breaking ball. Tony Scott drilled a single to center and it was 1-0. Keith Hernandez ripped a triple to right-center and it was 4-0. The carnage ended when George Hendrick drove in his 101st run with a single off Warren Brusstar.
In the stretch, you cant afford to waste the kind of clutch pitching Espinosa delivered out of the wings, the kind of job McGraw came prepared to do.
"SCHMITTY SAID he lost it in the lights," Boone said afterward. "It was one of those things. We were both going for it. You can’t communicate too good on that as far as calling somebody off. I see him lunge and I just backed off. It's a tough play for everybody, but with Mike coming he can get it. With him coming hard he catches that ball easy. He just lost it in the lights."
An unseen sign here, a one-out double-play ball there, a bastard of a bunt into no-man's land. That's all it takes to turn a tense, scoreless tie into a grisly five-run loss.
"It’s not the end of the world," Green said. "All we did was lose a game and a half."
The nice thing about baseball is that the most games you can lose in the standings in one day is two.
PHILUPS: It was Al Olmslead's big league debut. He was 10-5 at Springfield and 2-0 in the American Association playoff victory over Montreal's Denver club... Steve Carlton vs. Bob Forsch tonight... The Phils' second game attack produced eight singles... Pete Rose moved into ninth place on the games-played list with 2,809. His first-game double tied Nap Lajoie at 650 for fifth place. His 4,885 total bases moved him past Ted Williams into 13th place and what kind of numbers would Williams have rung up if he hadn't served in two wars... Carlton is 4-0 against the Cardinals this year and 27-8 lifetime.
Phillies Turn Limp in Opener
By Bill Conlin
Bob Walk limped off the field. The rookie righthander was still having trouble putting weight on his left leg after the Phillies' 7-4 first-game loss to the Cardinals last night.
Walk was scuffling in the early innings, battling to find a groove after excellent back-to-back performances against the Dodgers and Pirates. He was down, 3-0, in the fourth when pitcher Pete Vuckovich ripped a savage shot off Walk's left calf. It stayed on him a long time, as they say in the dugouts. And it only rolled a few inches away, a sign that the baseball burrowed into flesh rather than caromed off bone. Walk managed to throw Vuckovich out, then crumpled to the ground in obvious pain. It's the kind of injury that could be OK after a couple of days of ice and therapy, or not so fine a week from now.
Two first-game pitches made the difference between a close, competitive struggle and a long, uphill hike for the Phils.
DICKIE NOLES, working behind Walk, loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Green brought in Warren Brusstar and one pitch there was the difference between a crowd-igniting snuff of the rally and a disastrous inning. Brusstar appeared to have great stuff when he blew away 100-RBI man George Hendrick on four pitches. He appeared to have the same velocity and movement while blitzing to a 1-2 count on rookie outfielder Bull Durham.
Vet fans have grown accustomed to grand slam homers from the other Bull, Greg LuzinskL They were properly stunned when Durham put an inside-out stroke on a belt-high sinker on the outside part of the plate. The ball kept carrying and just made it over the 330 sign near the foul line in left for for big ones.
"Bru came close to an exciting outing." Dallas Green said after the Phillies parted company with a four-game winning streak. "I was getting ready to cheer myself."
Durham's first big-league grand slam gave Vuckovich a 7-0 lead. The Phils battled back, however, bolstered by two sizzling, hitless innings by left-handed wunderkind Mark Davis, MVP in the Eastern League after a 19-6 performance for the Reading Phillies.
They had two runs home, two on and two outs, when Manny Trillo, in the grips of a slump which has reached 0-for-20 and 1-for-38, sliced a sixth-inning drive toward the right-field corner. Manny hit it a little too hard. The ball stayed up just long-enough for Hendrick to reach up for a fine running catch on the edge of the warning track.
“IF TRTLLO'S ball isn't caught it's a different game," Green said, while the athletes girded their weary loins for a nightcap struggle with an unknown lefthander named Al Olmsted. "The pitch Durham hit out was just a little up. All he had to do was lift it. I still didn’t think he hit it well enough to get it out," Green said.
Pete Rose and Greg Luzinski drove in a pair of seventh-inning runs. But righthander John Urrea shut them down in the eighth and ninth.
The loss left Green talking about bright spots – coming back from seven runs down, the poised pitching of the live-armed Davis.
But when you lose to a team that was 15 games under .500 on Sept. 12 and one of your four-man rotation is limping badly after the game, the bright spots are very tiny ones.
9 Winners in HR Payoff
Mary Dilworth of Ardmore won $10, plus four tickets to a Phillies game next season, on a single by Garry Maddox in the first game of the Phillies-Cardinals double-header last night in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest.
Winners of four tickets each in the fifth inning were Dewitt Hunter. Tom Rucci, and Terry Purdie, all of Philadelphia.
In the sixth inning of the nightcap, Philadelphians Helen Silvert and Carmen D'Angelo each won $10 and tickets on singles by Lonnie Smith and Pete Rose. Winners of tickets were Helen Brooks of York and Philadelphians Edith Wilson and William J.Clark.
To date, the Daily News has paid out $16,735. Today's entry coupon appears on Page 35.