Allentown Morning Call - September 14, 1980

Phils’ Carlton collects 22nd win, 2-1


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – In major-league dugouts and clubhouses, he's called the stopper. He's the dominating starting pitcher who makes his club almost losing-streak proof. 


No team can hope to be a contender without one. Need a win? Give him the ball. 


In Los Angeles he's Jerry Reuss, in Pittsburgh he's Jim Bibby. In Houston he's Joe Niekro and in Montreal he's Scott Sanderson. 


Around here, though, they just call him "Lefty." That's "Lefty "as in Steve Carlton to you, stranger. 


Friday night St. Louis temporarily derailed the Phillies' pennant express by sweeping a doubleheader. Montreal had moved two games ahead of the Phils and manager Dallas Green sent his stopper to the mound last night before a crowd of 41.728. 


He didn't disappoint, pitching the Phils to a 2-1 win over the hard-hitting Cardinals, his fifth straight against them this year and his 22nd in what should culminate in his third Cy Young Award. He spaced eight hits, struck out five and scored the winning run himself in the sixth inning. 


"My pitcher's been doing his work (conditioning)," understated Green between sips of a Miller High Life. "When you consider his innings pitched, it was a damn good performance. And then, too, consider who he was pitching against. Whew, those guys can swing the bats." 


Carlton's victim, for the second time in 1980. was Bob Forsch – and the Cardinal righthander, now 11-9. deserved a much better fate. He was working on a one-hitter until the Phils rallied in the sixth, having retired 14 straight batters after Bake McBride doubled in the first. Eleven Phillies hammered his hard, low slider into groundouts. 


The way Forsch was breezing through the Phils' suddenly-impotent lineup through five innings ( it hadn't scored in 18 innings), it looked like the Cards' lone second-inning run (George Hendrick single, wild pitch, throwing error and Tito Landrum single) would stand up. 


But Carlton and his slump-ridden batterymate Bob Boone finally ignited a fire in the sixth. Forsch chipped in with a couple 55-foot sliders and the losing streak was history. 


Boone lashed a double to left and took third on Lefty's single to center. Forsch then bounced one-hop sliders off the ankles of both Pete Rose and McBride on 1-2 pitches to force in the tying run. Mike Schmidt crushed a fastball to the 408-foot sign in center for what looked like a grand slam, but Tony Scott hauled it in with his posterior firmly planted against the wall and Carlton trotted home with the winning run. 


"Yeah. I have to be a little concerned about our attack." Green said. We went after Pittsburgh real well. Then we went to New York. We beat 'em. but… well, we really didn't hit. 


"We're all a little sluggish right now. but this is the time I've been preaching to my people what training is all about. If they've trained well, they'll be able to reach down and get it going again." 


Carlton worked out of two jams (fourth and sixth) to keep it close. 


The Phils and Cards square off at 1 :35 p.m. today, hoping to gain a split of the four-game set and perhaps draw even with Montreal.

Last few weeks won’t be easy, but you’ve got to like the Phils


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


It is Sept. 14. 1980; three weeks remain in the season, and the Philadelphia Phillies, despite having blown a doubleheader to the St. Louis Cardinals two nights ago, still are very much involved in the National League East race. As they near the end of their first full season under Manager Dallas ' Green, they trail the Montreal Expos by one game and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates by 2½.


Last year at this time, under interim Manager Dallas Green, they were way back in the pack. Their only October plans were for fishing and hunting trips. They were, it should be noted, playing good baseball; taskmaster Green was wielding his whip in an attempt to instill some enthusiasm into his previously disinterested athletes. 


Has the Green approach – a direct contrast to the easygoing, treat-emwith-kid-gloves method of Danny Ozark – worked? The jury is still out and will be until the final results are tabulated on Oct. 5. But, it seems to me. divisional title or no, "the great Green experiment'' seems to be a success. 


There are those who'll say the only difference between last year's Phils and the current edition is the relative absence of injuries, especially among the pitchers. 


But there have been injuries this season, too. Manny Trillo missed a bunch of games early in the season; Greg Luzinski was on the disabled list tor a couple months; Bake McBride has been playing all along with two gimpy knees, and pitchers Dick Ruthven, Larry Christenson, Nino Espinosa and Tug McGraw have all been lame at times, too. The 1980 Phils simply have coped with injuries more effectively. 


One reason the Phils are in contention, it seems to me, is enthusiasm. They seem to be having fun. The famed Phillie cool frequently has disappeared, to be replaced at times by genuine outbursts of emotion that seem downright becoming on guys in red-and-white pin stripes.


Frankly, I like their chances, despite the one-game deficit (which occurred when Steve Carlton beat against the Cards 2-1 last night while Montreal lost to the Pirates). The main reason, other than the new let's-goget-'em attitude, is pitching. 


The corps of starters looks fine despite an injury to rookie Bob Walk Friday night. If Walk is shelved, Nino Espinosa, who pitched artfully in the second game of the twi-nighter, can fill in effectively. And Marty Bystrom, who gets his baptism against a real major league lineup today – let's not count the shutout of the Mets, who'd be hard put to win in the Blue Mountain League – could be a help.


Carlton is, of course, Carlton, and he should be Mr. Dependability down the stretch. But how about Ruthven? He should get five more starts, and the way he's pitching lately, could win them all – which would make him a 20 game winner. 


Christenson, who before pulling a leg muscle was pitching very well, will be back shortly. 


The bullpen, too, is in good shape. McGraw has been nothing short of phenomenal. Contrary to reports that the Phils' bullpen is a disaster area besides the Tugger and despite the torchings suffered by Warren Brusstar and Ron Reed Friday, Brusstar and Reed have pitched well in recent weeks.


Dickie Noles has had a couple of decent outings. And 19-year-old Mark Davis, just up from Reading, mopped up with two shutout innings in Friday's first game. Randy Lerch? Well… every cloud does have a dark side.


Defensively, the club is solid. Mc-Bride has come out of his batting slump with a vengeance. Bob Boone, Luzinski, Trillo and Pete Rose are mired in slumps but are just about ready to explode. 


Mike Schmidt is Mr. Consistency. He leads the league in home runs and runs batted in and has become the team's unquestioned leader. If the Phils win the pennant, Schmidt will stuff the Most Valuable Player Award in his back pocket if he can find room for it among all the Golden Gloves already lodged there. 


The schedule, too, seems to favor the Phils. Six games remain with the Expos, so Philly's destiny is in its own hands. 


The one sobering note is that if the Pirates can stay within a game or two of Montreal and Philly, they can feast on the Mets and the Cubbies in their last nine games while their two tormentors beat each other's brains out.


For that reason, the Phils' two-game set in Three Rivers Stadium Tuesday and Wednesday is vital in terms of opening more of a gap on the Bucs. 


One thing is certain, though: The Expos are for real. They will not dry up and blow away. The Phils will have to beat them, and it could be settled in the season-ending three-game series Oct. 3-5 in Montreal.


But, what the heck, nobody said it was supposed to be easy.

Phillies acquire Sparky Lyle to bolster bullpen in stretch


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Sparky Lyle. long one of baseball's premier relief pitchers, was acquired yesterday by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later, the club announced. 


The 36-year-old Lyle was scheduled to report to the Phillies during last night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. 


The Phillies tried desperately to pry Lyle from the Rangers in a multi-player deal at last December's baseball winter meetings in Toronto. At that time, problems nullified the trade. 


Lyle is in his 15th major league season during which he has compiled an 87-67 won-loss record in 796 appearances. 


This year, he has worked 49 games, recorded a 3-2 record with eight saves and compiled a 4.69 ERA.


Lyle, who won the Cy Young Award as the American League's top pitcher while playing for the New York Yankees in 1977, was acquired to help the Phillies' bullpen in the September stretch drive for the National League East championship against the leading Montreal Expos and the third-place Pittsburgh Pirates. 


Since all major league teams were allowed to expand their rosters to 40 players as of Sept. 1, the Phillies don't have to drop a player, according to Personnel Director Paul Owens, who announced the deal. 


Lyle reportedly earns around $300,000, and Owens said he had guaranteed it through 1982, although the pact with Texas only ran through next season. 


The left-hander had a clause in his contract that guaranteed him 10 years as a broadcaster after his career is over. 


"That's been handled by Texas and Sparky," Owens said. "I don't know the particulars." 


The Phillies player designated for Texas will be named during the interleague trading period this winter. 


"We feel that the incentive of being in a pennant drive will bring the best out of Lyle," Phillies Manager Dallas Green said, adding that Lyle wasn't acquired because of dissatisfaction with Tug McGraw's left-hand relief. 


"As a matter of fact, McGraw is the only one (reliever) I can close with with confidence," Green said. "The others (relievers) have been sporadic and inconsistent. These last 20 days of the season, we have to be consistent." 


Green was asked why the Phillies were able to make the deal for Lyle now but couldn't consummate it last December.


"I think it's the change in ownership (at Texas) and the fact that Paul (Owens) and Eddie Robinson (Texas general manager) have kept in contact. I think they were willing to let Lyle go since Texas has dropped out of the race, and this altered their thinking," Green said. 


In another move to bolster their pitching, the Phillies are reactivating reliever Kevin Saucier, who had been on the injured list.