Philadelphia Inquirer - September 13, 1980
A horse race, pennant races
There's baseball on the tube today, baseball live at the Vet tonight and a $100,000 trot at Liberty Bell Park.
The television game is Pittsburgh vs. Montreal from Olympic Stadium (Channel 3, 2:15 p.m.).
The Phils will probably watch that one at home with considerable interest, then head for the Vet for a 7:05 meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Watching neither game will be Burgomeister, who won the recent Hambletonian and will be in the field for the $100,000 Colonial Trot at Liberty Bell Park. The first race is at 8 p.m.
PHILLIES vs. St. Louis at Veterans Stadium (Radio-KYW-1060, 7.05 p.m.)
Phils swept by Cards, fall 2 back
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
If Dallas Green seemed to be digging up old quotes from the Chuck Tanner Guide to Sunshine and Eternal Optimism last night, how could you blame him?
More than 44,000 people showed up at the Vet for a Phillies-Cardinals doubleheader with a slight case of pennant fever. But when they left six hours later, their temperatures were securely back at 98.6.
The Cardinals provided the anti-fever vaccine, sweeping the Phils, 7-4, in the opener and 5-0 in 11 innings in Game Two. The Phillies could have tied the Expos for first place with a sweep of their own. Instead, they found themselves two games back.
"I don't think we can look in the mirror and say we're very proud of what we did tonight," said Green, quoting one of his own greatest hits. "Hell, we gave up seven runs in the first game and didn't start scoring until late. Then we didn't get any up on the board in the second game, and we had opportunities to do it. And we didn't pitch very well."
But then Green revived that old Tanner favorite, "The sun's gonna come up in the morning."
"And we're gonna play another game," the manager added. "And it only cost us a game and a half."
The Cardinals followed one of their own favorite formulas to win Game One – pummel everybody who throws a pitch at you. They had a 7-0 lead after five, and the Phils couldn't quite come back.
St. Louis pummeled Bob Walk (10-5) figuratively and literally. A line drive by pitcher Pete Vuckovich drilled Walk in the left calf in the fourth inning. Walk undoubtedly will miss at least a start. But because the Phillies have two off days next week, it's not as serious as it might have been otherwise.
Then the Cards followed one of the Phillies' least favorite formulas in Game Two – throw some mysterious pitcher out there whom the Phillies wouldn't know from the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia.
Last night's mystery man was Al Olmsted, a 23-year-old lefthanded screwballer who was 10-5 at Springfield this year. He threw a six-hit shutout at the Phils for 9-1/3innings and got out of every problem he had.
He fanned Greg Luzinski with two on in the sixth. He retired pinch-hitter Greg Gross with two on in the seventh.
In the eighth, Pete Rose drew a one-out walk. But the Cardinals pitched out on what was supposed to be a 1-and-0 hit-and-run. So Rose was dead. Then singles by Mike Schmidt and Luzinski went to waste.
"Either they had our signs or they're good guessers," Green said. "But Schmitty at least should make an attempt to help the guy out (by swinging). It doesn't do a helluva lot. But it just might bother the catcher a little, make him blink maybe. Who knows? He might even hit the ball."
Olmsted left after walking Lonnie Smith in the 10th. But even though he didn't get the win, he spun a familiar plot. The Phillies have beaten only one of 10 rookie pitchers they were seeing for the first time this year.
"The guy stuck a lot of zeroes up there," Green said. "I'm not real sure how he did it, but he did it. And that's really the bottom line. We asked our guys from Oklahoma City, and they said that's exactly how he pitched down there. It wasn't like we didn't know what he was gonna throw.
"But give him credit. He didn't try to do anything different. He just did what he did to get himself here."
After Olmsted left, Smith stole second and went to third on a wild throw by Ted Simmons. But Luzinski ended the inning by bouncing into a bases-loaded double play against eventual winner John Littlefield (5-3).
Tug McGraw pitched three sizzling hitless innings in relief of Nino Espinosa, who extended his scoreless streak against St. Louis to 15 with a seven-inning four-hitter.
But Ron Reed came on to start the 11th and fed a leadoff double to Ken Reitz. Littlefield popped up a bunt in front of the plate. But Schmidt had to try to catch it and avoid crashing into Bob Boone. The ball ticked off his glove for an error, and there were runners on first and third.
"It's probably preferable that the catcher make the play," Green said. "But it happened pretty quick. Somebody should call for the ball if they think they can catch it. But I'm sure they all thought they could catch it."
After that. Randy Lerch completed a Reed walk of Ken Oberkfell, Tony Scott singled in one run, Keith Hernandez tripled in three and George Hendrick singled in the last run off Warren Brusstar.
In Game One, Walk was shaky early. But the Phils were still within 3-0 when he left. Then Dickie Noles loaded the bases. Brusstar entered and came within one strike to Leon Durham of repeating his bases-loaded escape act in 'Frisco last week.
But then he got a fastball up. Durham sliced it just inside the foul pole in left. And the Phillies staff finally. had allowed its first grand slam of the '80s, one year and three days after Barry Foote connected for the record-setting seventh slam last year.
The Phils almost made it back, but not quite. Rookie pitcher Mark Davis, he of the 19-6 record at Reading, nearly became a hero with two hitless innings of relief.
"For 19 years old, that was not too shabby," Green said. "One outing doesn't make a pitcher, necessarily. But certainly he didn't panic. So it may not be the last time you see him."
Then the Phils rallied to within 7-4 in the sixth and seventh. But a running stab by Hendrick in the right-field corner on Trillo in the sixth turned out to be the killing blow.
It was about then that Green started anticipating this morning's sunrise.
NOTES: It was reported erroneously the other day that Kevin Saucier was eligible to come off the disabled list today. He actually can't come off until tomorrow.... Trillo finished the night at.296, only the fourth day all year he has been under.300. Trillo is l for-40, but Green said he has no plans to rest him.... The Cardinal manager standings: 1, Whitey Herzog 38-35; 2, Red Schoendienst 8-8; 3, Ken Boyer 18-33; 4, Jack Krol 0-1.... Rose's double in the seventh inning of Game One tied him with good old Nap Lajoie for fifth all-time (650).... Tim McCarver pinch-hit in Game One, his first Vet appearance of the decade. He flied to right.... Steve Carlton goes for No. 22 again tonight, against Bob Forsch (11-8). Forsch also is hitting.300 this year (21-for-70, 3 homers, 10 RBIs).
Young Cardinals play ‘spoilers’ – pardon the term
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Five days ago, Al Olmsted was figuring he was through with baseball for another year.
His Triple-A team, Springfield, had finished its season, and his parent club, the St. Louis Cardinals, had not added him to its expanded, post-Sept. 1 roster.
"I'd already given up hope," he said. "I thought the year was over for me. I'm happy they changed their mind."
This is the pitcher who frustrated the Phillies in the second game of last night's doubleheader at the Vet. He had serious arm trouble three years ago. He had a weak fastball last night. But he had the Phillies in the palm of his left hand for most of nine scoreless innings.
Olmsted, 23, allowed only six hits and emerged as the winner of the 5-0 game that went 11 innings. There was some consistency in that. After all, it was Leon (Bull) Durham, also 23, also a rookie, who hit the grand slam homer that wrecked the Phillies in the opener. You might call the Cardinals "spoilers," even if interim manager Red Schoendienst doesn't.
"I don't like that word," he said. "We had a lot of chances early in the season, and we spoiled ourselves."
But what else do you call a guy like Al Olmsted, who all but comes off his front porch to go the distance and win his first major league outing?
Olmsted's career was stalled early in the 1977 season when he tore a muscle in his upper arm while pitching at Gastonia in the Class A Western Carolina League. He couldn't even pick up a baseball for two months, and he bounced around in the bushes for the next two years, finally finishing the 1979 season at AA Arkansas.
"After last season, I wasn't really a prospect," he said. "But I wanted to prove that I could pitch. And I worked real hard last winter. I don't know if I added a lot to my fastball, but I think I added enough to make a difference. Basically, I'm just not afraid anymore."
Olmsted, 10-5 at Springfield, didn’t beat the Phillies with any smoke. He joined the Gordy Pladson-Allen-Ripley-Etc. Club of Mystery Phillies-Killers with the magic of his screwball. And when the novelty wore off, he; had the staying power to battle his way out of three late jams.
In the end, the Phillies' loss in the first game revolved around one pitch, a high and outside fastball that Warren Brusstar threw to Durham with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
"I knew he (Brusstar) was around the plate. I knew he was throwing strikes with good velocity," Durham said. "He just got one (pitch) high, and I got wood on it. The guys tell me the ball carries real well here, but I thought they'd catch this one. I didn't know it was out until I got to second base."
And so he didn't see his first major league grand slam trickle over the 330 sign in the left-field corner to-give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
Durham is a guy the Cardinals couldn't keep down on the farm. He was the American Association Rookie of the Year in 1979 at Springfield, and the Cardinals held him back there again this year until May 29. Now the young outfielder is getting a chance to play a lot in St. Louis, as if the Cardinals needed another good hitter.
"It wasn't my time, I guess," he said. "I didn't want to go back to Springfield. They (the Cardinals) just wanted me to play every day in the outfield. But I'm here now, and the rest of it is all forgotten."
Durham will not soon be forgotten by Brusstar, who had come in to undo Dickie Noles' damage with the bases full. Brusstar looked sharp, fanning George Hendrick on four pitches and putting Durham in a 1-2 bind before giving up the first grand slam hit off a Phillies pitcher in exactly one year and three days.
"We hit well, and we're gonna score some runs," Durham said. "They (the Phillies) are fighting for the pennant, and we're gonna give; 'em our best shot. They know we're gonna hit, and they've got to do some-' thing about it."