Reading Eagle - September 26, 1980

Phillies Regain 1st


Smith Provides Winning Single


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Dallas Green, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, finally broke down and said it – “The next three days are critical.”


Green has been saying for the past month that every series is critical, refusing to designate one in particular.


But the Montreal Expos come to town today for the start of a three-game series that could go a long way in deciding the winner of the National League East.


The Phillies beat the New York Mets 2-1 Thursday night on a two-out run-scoring single by rookie Lonnie Smith in a two-run fifth.


Meanwhile, Montreal lost, 5-4 Thursday afternoon to the Chicago Cubs. The combination put the Phillies on top by ½ game over the Expos. The Phillies have 10 games left and Montreal nine.


They play each other six times, including the last three games of the season in Montreal.


That’s what made Green finally describe this weekend series as critical.


“We’re ready for them,” Green said. “I’m sure they’re ready for us. We’re playing pretty good baseball. If we get pitching we’ll win.”


The first pitching matchup in the series has Montreal’s Dave Palmer (7-5) against the Phillies’ Dick Ruthven (16-10).


Green said he was pleased to start this series on top of the division.


“It means they have to beat us to win it. The shoe is on the other foot,” insisted the Philadelphia manager.


“We worked awful hard to get here… but the job isn’t done until we get (finally) where we’ve got to go.”


The Mets, who have lost five straight and 25 of their last 32, didn’t roll over an play dead.


They had the tying and winning runs on base with two out in the eighth, but reliever Sparky Lyle got Lee Mazzilli to pop out and then pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save since joining the Phillies Sept. 14.


The Phillies won the game against reliever Roy Lee Jackson in the fifth. Jackson came in when starter Tom Zachry suffered an injury and had to leave in the third.


Manny Trillo opened the fifth with a triple. Garry Maddox followed with a run-scoring single. A single by Larry Bowa, a fielder’s choice and Smith’s single completed the two-run inning.


Smith hadn’t played in seven games, and his last start was Sept. 14. He isn’t happy. The rookie is hitting .337, and his bat and base stealing helped the Phillies overcome a six-game deficit when Luzinski was injured.


When Luzinski first came back, Green alternated our outfielders, but finally let Luzinski settle in left.


“I was disappointed I wasn’t playing much,” said Smith.


Why did he start Thursday night?


Green said he wanted the slumping Luzinski (.232) to take a game off and work in the batting cage to see if he could find some things he was doing wrong.


This was the 10th straight victory for the Phillies over the Mets, and not including the first two days of the season is the ninth time they have been in sole possession of first place.


Rookie Marty Bystrom worked 6-2/3 innings, allowing just four hits. He was credited with his fourth triumph in as many decisions. Dickie Noles pitched to one batter in the seventh, getting a line drive out to Bowa with two Mets on base.

The Baron’s Corner: Top OFs Eye Free Agency


By Larry Shenk




That was the big obstacle the Players Association and Major League Baseball hassled over this spring. Owners wanted some form of compensation, figuring to cut down on the millions being given free agent players.


The players wanted to maintain the present system, whereby the only compensation is an unknown draft pick from the annual summer draft of high school and college players.


Settlement was reached and the late-May strike was averted, but compensation is still undecided. This fall, there will be no compensation for players in the re-entry draft but a committee of four has been named to come up with a solution satisfactory to both sides for future years. The committee includes two owner-types and two players, Bob Boone being one.


So, for this year, several players will be up for grabs in the re-entry draft and the club who loses the player won’t be getting anything substantial in compensation.


Who’s going to be the big contract winners this fall?


Right now, it looks as if three outfielders will get the big bucks: Dave Winfield, Dusty Baker and Ron LeFlore.


Free Agent List


The rest of the free agents, position-by-position (many will windup signing with their current clubs).


Catchers – Darrell Porter, Jim Essian, Johnny Oates, Dave Rader, Marc Hill and Mike Sadek.


First basemen – John Mayberry, John Milner Willie Montanez, Peter LaCock and Larry Biittner.


Infielders – Tom Veryzer, Mario Mendoza, Mike Cubbage, Dave Roberts, Roy Howell, Dave Chalk, Bill Stein, Bud Harrelson, Mike Kelleher, Lenny Randle, Kurt Bevacqua.


Designated hitters – Lee May, Jose Morales, Rusty Staub.


Outfielders – In addition to Baker, LeFlore and Winfield, Pat Kelly, Claudell Washington, Jerry Mirales, Charlie Spikes, Steve Braun, Juan Beniquez, Jose Cardenal, Rusty Torres, Jim Dwyer.


Starting pitchers – Don Sutton, Larry Christenson, Bill Travers, Geoff Zahn, Gaylord Perry, Luis Tiant, Ray Burris, Don Hood, Jesse Jefferson, Charlie Hough, Ed Figueroa, Doug Rau, Doug Bird, Bill Castro, Marty Pattin, Dan Spillner, Dave Lemanczyk and Ed Halicki.


Relief pitchers – Tug McGraw, Dick Tidrow, Stan Bahnsen, John D’Acquisto, Tom Griffin, Dale Murray, Dave Tomlin.


My guess? Baker will stay in L.A., LeFlore in Montreal and Winfield will be in a bidding war between the two New York clubs.


Other Predictions


Steve Carlton wins third Cy Young to tie Jim Palmer, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver.


Mike Schmidt becomes only third Phillie to win the Most Valuable Player Award.


Bill Gullickson, the Expos outstanding righthander, will nudge out Lonnie Smith for the Rookie of the Year Award.


Tim McCarver will not win the Comeback Player of the Year honors.


Bobby Bonds will be traded… again.


Joe Torre will return to manage the Mets.


Gene Mauch will sit until the perfect managerial position comes along. No way will he take a G.M. job and be bogged down with agents, paper work, etc.


Bert Blyleven will be traded.


Bruce Sutter will be traded.


Chuck Hiller will manage St. Louis.


Bill Giles will give Paul Owens 5,001 trade suggestions, more of which are feasible.


Giles will reverse the trend of having people come from the sky with the first ball. The 1981 ceremonial first ball will come from someone who’ll crawl out of the ground.


Dallas Green will get laryngitis.


And… the only certain prediction, the Phillies will open 1981 at home Monday night, April 13, against the big, bad, also-ran Pirates.


See you next baseball season.