Wilmington Evening Journal - September 24, 1980

Schedule favors second-place Phils


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


ST. LOUIS – Half-game back with 12 to play. Nine at home, three . at Montreal.


"If we're going to do it, the schedule's in our favor," said the Phillies' Pete Rose. "We've got to take advantage of the homestand."


"We have to gear up for the Mets and Chicago," said Manager Dallas Green. "We've always played pretty well against Pittsburgh and Montreal, but sometimes let down against the teams we're supposed to beat."


The Phillies were supposed to beat St. Louis and Al Olmsted last night, but the rookie left-hander baffled them with his sinkerball and off-speed pitches for eight innings. Then, the Phils' ninth-inning surge came too late and they lost 6-3 in the season farewell to Busch Memorial Stadium and the Cards.


In Pittsburgh, Montreal ran over the Pirates 7-1 and moved back into first place in National League East by a half -game.


The Phils ended with a 9-9 record against the Cards. They were 5-4 here and 4-5 at Veterans Stadium.


"They're in a true spoiler role," said catcher Bob Boone. "I think the fact Montreal has three more games with them is important. Frankly, I'm glad we don't have to play them again. Right now, they're loose and as always getting a lot of hits."


While the Phils jetted out of here last night for home and the start of the nine-game run at the Vet, Montreal flew to Chicago for a two- game series with the Cubs. After that, the Expos go to the Vet for a three-game weekend series that will receive a lot of attention from the media.


For the Expos, Green has already said he will pitch Dick Ruthven, Steve Carlton and Bob Walk. Montreal will go with Dave Palmer, Scott Sanderson and Steve Rogers.


"That's going to be a very important series," said Green, "but we have to think about the Mets first. We have to play well in those two games."


Larry Christenson (5-1), who has not pitched since he pulled a groin muscle against the Dodgers on Sept. 6, will start tonight against Ed Lynch, a rookie right-hander with a 1-1 record. Tomorrow night, Pat Zachry (6-10) will go for the Mets against Marty Bystrom (3-0).


Following the weekend, the Phils have four games with the Cubs, while the Expos go home to play three with the Cards, have an open date on Oct. 2, then brace for the three-game season-ending series against Philadelphia.


The Phils, of course, are hoping they can build some kind of a lead before the final weekend. They want no part of invading Olympic Stadium needing two or three victories.


If the division should end in a tie, a one-game playoff will be held at Veterans Stadium on Monday, Oct. 6.


"I think the thing that also is in our favor," said Rose, "is the fact we have one more game than Montreal has. We have four with the Cubs, while they only play the Cards three times."


Montreal has a 4-3 record against the Cubs at Wrigley Field and is 11-5 overall. At Olympic Stadium, the Cards have won just one of six games and are 6-9 overall.


The Phils are 10-6 against the Mets, but 2-5 at the Vet. They're 9-5 vs. Chicago, with a 4-1 record at home.


Against Montreal, everything is even after 12 games. Each team has won three and lost three at home.


Olmsted, a 23-year-older who, grew up in the St. Louis suburbs, made his first major-league start against the Phils on Sept. 12 and blanked them for 9 innings. The Cards won the game in 11 innings 5-0.


Last night he pitched with only two days' rest and through eight innings had allowed only three hits. Two of those came in the seventh when Mike Schmidt doubled and scored on Manny Trillo's one-out single.


The Cards took advantage of Walk's ineffectiveness to score three runs in the second and added The Cards took advantage of Walk's ineffectiveness to score three runs in the second and added another in the fourth off reliever Kevin Saucier.


As it turned out, two runs given up in the eighth by Ron Reed proved very costly as the Phils scored twice in the ninth and the game ended with runners on first and third.


Schmidt cracked his 43rd homer with one down in the ninth, Greg Luzinskl followed with a double, Trillo was safe on an error and Garry Maddox singled to load the bases.


Del Unser hit a long fly to deep center field that looked as though it might leave the park at first. It was caught on the warning track for a sacrifice fly and the game ended with pinch-hitter Greg Gross lofting a short fly to center.


"If Del had been able to pull the ball a little, it might have gone out," said Green. "He hit it to the deepest part of the park.


"As for Walk, he Just didn't have his act together tonight. He said he had no feel. He'd throw two good pitches, then a poor one. And I'll tell you one thing, you better have your act together when you face St. Louis. They can swing the baU."


EXTRA POINTS – The Phils left home a game behind Montreal and return a half-game out after a 5-4 road trip. The Phils are now 40-38 away from the Vet and 42-30 there. They had won three straight before last night and 10 of their last 14... Schmidt has an eight-game hitting streak and has driven in nine runs in his last seven games... Sparky Lyle, who pitched two innings, became the seventh pitcher in baseball history to work in 800 or more games. He's been in 801.