Philadelphia Inquirer - September 28, 1980
Expos slow Phils, Carlton, 4-3
Narrow lead to ½ game
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
The trouble with Steve Carlton is that you expect him to be superhuman all the time.
When Bake McBride's dramatic homer plopped over the wall Friday, the Phillies practically could already taste the 2½-game lead Carlton was supposed to hand them yesterday.
Ah, but baseball isn't played in the tastebuds. Even Steve Carlton can't win just because he is Steve Carlton, the official Best Pitcher in the Game. And exhibit A was the Expos' 4-3 victory yesterday.
Carlton didn't have his killer slider most of the day. He got hurt by Chris Speier (three hits, an RBI single and a rally-starting double) and Jerry White (a game-turning RBI double). And he wound up being removed in the middle of an inning (the eighth) for only the fifth time this year and first in seven weeks.
"It wasn't one of Lefty's finer hours," shrugged Dallas Green philosophically. "He struggled all day, I think. He didn't have the real good slider. And that's his bread and butter. But still, he pitched good enough to win a lot of games."
Carlton not having it isn't exactly the same thing as, say, Eric Rasmussen not having it. It was still a 3-2 game when he left, which is somewhere short of blowout city.
But you measure him against Cy Young expectations. And he has allowed more than three earned runs only six times in 37 starts this year. Yesterday was one of them.
Had he spun off one of those 11-strikeout, one-run games he has churned out so automatically, the Phillies would be sitting on a three-game pad in the loss column today. Instead, it is one in the loss column, a half-game overall. And it made yesterday look like perhaps a very pivotal day in the weekend, and maybe the pennant race.
"It makes no difference whatsoever," Green insisted, saying exactly what he he had to. "It just puts us right where we started."
"Momentum?" pondered Pete Rose. "Momentum's a nice word. But I don't think it shifted that much. We did get beat, but we kept coming back in the ninth inning. If we'd gotten beat, 4-2, it would have been a different thing. But we had the winning run on first base. We had a shot at it."
The Phils came to the ninth two runs down, and with just six hits off winner Scott Sanderson (now 16-10) and Elias Sosa. But Greg Luzinski, wallowing in a 1-for-17 (with eight strikeouts) funk, led off with a single. And Manny Trillo thumped Sosa's next pitch into center for his third hit.
So it was first and second, nobody out, for Garry Maddox. Maddox already had made one successful sacrifice bunt yesterday. But he couldn't get down a second. With Warren Cromartie charging hard at first, Maddox pushed one right at him. Cromartie scooped it up on one bounce and cut down pinch-runner Jay Loviglio at third.
The classic baseball thinking is to play for the tie at home in that situation. And the ever-classic Green said he never thought about letting Maddox take a swing.
"The man's got to get the bunt down," the manager said. "That's the way we've played the game all year. And he's been very successful doing that for us. I thought he made a good bunt. The guy just charged it real well and made a good play, a good clutch play."
Larry Bowa bounced into a force at second for the second out. But Keith Moreland poked an RBI single through the right side, Bowa sprinted around to third and 53,058 people at the Vet roared dreamily.
Green marched Del Unser up to the plate to pinch-hit, but Dick Williams countered with the lefthanded-heaving Woodrow Thompson Fryman. So Green yanked back Unser and went to Lonnie Smith. Fryman worked him the way 40-year-old veterans are supposed to work 24-year-old rookies. Smith looked at a 1-2 breaking ball for strike three, and that was it.
"It's a situation where you'd prefer not to see the kid take the ball," Green said. "But I don't think Lonnie's that used to pinch-hitting. And that's a difficult job against a seasoned veteran…. I just figured Lonnie's very capable of topping the ball or chopping one up there somewhere, and he can beat that kind of ball to first base easy."
He didn't, though. And so you had to look back on the runs the Expos got earlier, wondering whether this comeback was really necessary.
Early homers by Mike Schmidt (No. 44) and Trillo (No. 7), around a Gary Carter shot for Montreal, had given Carlton a 2-1 lead. But the Expos tied it in the fourth after Carlton had almost pitched out of a jam that started with an Andre Dawson double and a walk to Carter.
Trillo nailed Dawson trying to score on Larry Parrish's bouncer for the second out. And Carlton jumped ahead of Speier, 1-2, then just missed fanning him with a fastball. But he got another fastball up, Speier stroked it to right and Carter loped in.
Then the Expos grabbed a 3-2 lead in the seventh with a rally started by Speier's double. But Carlton was nearly out of that one, too. He battled back from 3-and-0 on pinch-hitter Ken Macha to whiff him for the second out. But White, who started the day hitting a fearsome .184 right-handed, smoked a 2-and-0 fastball to leftcenter for a big RBI double.
"White gets a hit Speier gets a hit – they're the guys you don't figure are gonna beat you," Green said. "Carter, Dawson, the other guys are the guys you worry about. Speier hit a fastball away, and if Lefty's right I don't think he throws it up there. It would be down and away if it was gonna be anywhere."
Still, it was within reach. But Dawson led off the eighth with his second double. And that finished Carlton. Warren Brusstar came on, and Greg Luzinski got him a big first out with a running stab of Carter's liner to left-center.
So Brusstar was able to walk Cromartie and fire sinkers at Parrish, going for the double play, And he got a groundball on the third pitch,
But by then, the twilight glare had made it difficult to pick up the ball. Brusstar "never saw" Parrish's chopper back to the box "till it was right on top of me," he said. "Then I grabbed at it like crazy, but I just couldn't get to it."
That extra run turned out to be the difference. But maybe the difference was really when Carlton walked to the mound in the first and didn't take his slider with him.
NOTES: Ironically, the Phillies' three runs yesterday were the most they had scored in any game on the homestand, and it was also the first game they had lost. "We just haven't hit the ball the way we're supposed to," said Green. "We've got to play a little better offense somehow." Green said he plans no lineup changes, however.... Green said he won't determine when Carlton makes his next start until he sees what happens in the next few days.... Bob Walk vs. Steve Rogers today. Walk is 2-5, 6.71 since Aug. 1.
‘Old goat’ Fryman saves day for younger-generation Expos
By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor
He walked in from the bullpen beyond the left-field fence. At his age, you'd think Woodie Fryman would have taken a cab, a golf cart, a pogo stick, something. But no, he came by foot with nary an arm to lean on. A remarkable fella, Woodrow Thompson Fryman.
All around him there was madness in the air. People were standing, screaming, waving red and white pom-pons, towels, Phillies pennants. Pennant fever had swept through Veterans Stadium, and now, as Fryman strode rather briskly into the spotlight, the place seemed ready to explode.
Two out in the bottom of the ninth, the tying run at third, the winning run at first, and the young Expos – "the team of the future," they've been called – were pinning their hopes on a 40-year-old man whose pitching elbow had a nasty habit of swelling when he wore a Phillies uniform a decade ago.
Larry Bowa, the base runner at third, saw his ex-teammate approach ing and murmured a "greeting." "He said something about, 'You old goat,'" Fryman said later, with that easy-going smile lighting up his face. "That's what they call me, 'The old goat.'"
And now, in a baseball game the Expos simply had to win, it was up to "the old goat" to get the final out.
Fryman stood there, surveying the scene, listening to the bedlam, thinking over the job that confronted him in this, his 57th appearance of the year.
"I said to myself, 'Old goat, you got to get somebody out,'" he said. “‘We need this game.'"
To nail it down for the Expos, Fryman had to retire a member of the younger generation, Lonnie Smith, pinch-hitting for Del Unser. Nothing surprising about that. The moment Unser was announced you knew Dick Williams was going to call for lefty Fryman. And when that happened, you knew Dallas Green would counter with the righthanded swinging Smith. All part of baseball's percentage game.
"The old goat" must have smiled to himself.
"I'd rather face righthanded hitters any time myself," he said. "Like a lot of lefthanded pitchers, I hang breaking pitches to lefthanded hitters."
Last time the Expos visited the Vet, in late June, Fryman had been called in with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game. Then, too, Unser was the scheduled hitter... and then, too, Green sent up Smith to pinch hit. Woodie got him looking at a two-strike breaking ball.
But this was late September, not early summer. One mistake now and the Expos would be on the critical list.
"I just want to make sure I challenge the guy," Fryman said, "and keep the ball in the ballpark. A hit in the gap or out of the park, and we go home the way we did (Friday night)."
He started him with a slider on the outside corner. Strike one. Then a fastball to drive him off the plate. Ball one. Then another slider away. Smith swung and fouled it softly into the first-base seats. Strike two.
The "old goat" had been working fast – in contrast to the Woodie Fryman who pitched for the Phillies in the late '60s and early 70s. But that Woodie Fryman had a bad elbow. This Woodie Fryman, for all the pitching he's done the last couple pf years, felt strong and healthy and eager to get the day's work done.
He paused just long enough to rub up the cover of a new ball, then let fly with another slider for the outside part of the plate. "I think he was looking in," Fryman said. The ball broke sharply. It's unlikely Smith could have done much with it if he had swung, but he didn't swing. Strike three called... and suddenly all those young Expos were leaping out of the third-base dugout, stampeding to the mound to grasp the hand of "the old goat" who'd saved their day, and maybe their season.
This was, after all, a game the Expos weren't supposed to win. Not with Steve Carlton pitching for the Phillies.
Some of the visitors, in fact, thought they bad detected overconfidence on the part of the Philadelphia public, if not the Philadelphia players before this weekend series even began.
"I've had people come up to me and say, 'Do you guys really think you have a chance?'" winning pitcher Scott Sanderson said. "What are we supposed to say – 'No. Here's our bats, our gloves. We forfeit... '?"
If not for that strike out by Fryman in the ninth inning, though, some of those words would have been starting to ring true. Fryman had kept them from falling into a hole so deep they might never have been able to dig out in the eight days that remain.
"The old goat" had done it again – by example, not by mouthing off; by throwing strikes with the tying and winning runs on base and 53,000 fans waiting for him to make a mistake.
"He's not the vocal type," young Sanderson said. "There are other guys that come in and pump the team up by talking. He pumps us up just by being there."
Just by being an old goat named Woodie Fryman.
"He realized what was on the line today," Gary Carter said. "He came in and he threw strikes. If we were to win it (the pennant) for one guy, to me I'd want to win it for Woodie. He's been a great inspiration for me to see a guy 40 years old throw the ball the way he does."
Typically, at almost that very moment Fryman was talking abput how much he enjoyed saving games for the kids – the Sandersons, the Palmers, the Gullicksons and the rest.
"It means a lot to me," he said, “because I'm the oldest guy on the ball club. The kids depend on me."
And he has produced in a way nobody would have thought possible a couple of years ago. Believe it or not, Fryman said he's warmed lip in the bullpen at least 250 times this year, to go with a comparable number of times last year... and still that 40-year-old arm is hanging on, throwing hard strikes.
"I'm still 27 years old when it comes to a pennant drive," he said. "I'd like to get in a World Series before I'm through."
If he keeps throwing the ball the way he did yesterday, "the old goat" may just get his wish.
To find what the fan says of DH, ask him
By Allen Lewis, On Baseball
Before the National League voted at its midsummer meeting to turn down the designated-hitter rule again, commissioner Bowie Kuhn, a longtime booster of the gimmick, said he supported the DH because he is “eager to see the two leagues together," and because he thinks "it's been good for the American League and fan sentiment has been good."
I'm not sure how Kuhn knows that the fans like the DH. They weren't asked about it when it was adopted, and still haven't been asked in any significant number. The only barometer has been an increase in American League attendance. But, since National League attendance also has increased in the years the AL has used the DH, fan sentiment may also be called "good" for not employing the DH.
If the commissioner is really interested, in what the fans think, why hasn’t he organized a poll? Ballots could be passed out in every ballpark, just as All-Star ballots are. In Cincinnati, about the only place where fans have been asked what they think, the vote was 3½-to-1 against the DH.
The National Leaguers who have been strongly against the DH will have only themselves to blame if the rule is finally passed. They have done precious little lobbying or arm-twisting with Kuhn or their American-League counterparts to have the rule killed, and they didn't fight its adoption among minor leagues as they might have – by shifting farm clubs into leagues in which a majority would vote against it.
As it is now, some youngsters coming into the major leagues haven't been to bat since high school. Soon, hitters who have never worn a fielder's glove will begin arriving. Complete platooning surely will follow.
NOTES: The Dodgers have used six different players in center field this season. They haven't had a full-time regular since Jimmy Wynn in 1974. The player who might have filled the bill this year was Pedro Guerrero, but he got hurt. Guerrero, from the Dominican Republic, was signed in 1973, at age 16, for $2,500, "all the money in the world." Former Reds coach Reggie Otero, then working for. the Indians, signed Guerrero, then moved to the Dodgers. Guerrero was traded to Los Angeles in 1976.... Hall of Famer Duke Snider will move from the Expos' broadcasting team to the Mets, because "I've gone as far as I can in Montreal as far as salary goes."... The Pirates' Dave Parker says he has given his former common-law wife "$50,000 and a lot of furniture over the last two and one-half years, and I was with her maybe 12 days. I'm not going to support her forever. If there were any kids involved, it would be different, but there's not."... The Red Sox' Carl Yastrzemski this year became the second major leaguer to get 100 or more hits in each of his first 20 seasons. The first? No, it wasn't Ty Cobb. It was Hank Aaron.... Asked if the Expos will sign Ron LeFlore or let him become a free agent after this season, Montreal scout Charlie Fox said, "I just hope the door doesn't hit him in the behind on the way out."... On the pitch that broke the right forefinger of Bill Russell, umpire Dave Pallone called a strike, ruling that the Dodgers shortstop had swung. That call resulted in the first ejection of Monte Basgall in his eight years as a Dodgers coach. But, said Basgall, when "I managed in the minors, I got thrown out so often I might have set a record."... In a game in mid-September, a Ranger hit a fly ball to center field, and the Anaheim Stadium sprinklers came on. Everything has happened this year to the Angels.
The answer to last week's Trivia Question: When the Phillies beat the Dodgers in a 10-inning, final-day game to win the 1950 pennant, the catcher who took center-fielder Richie Ashburn's throw and tagged Cal Abrams to keep the Dodgers from winning in the ninth was Stan Lopa-ta. Andy Seminick, the Phillies' first-string catcher, had left the game in the ninth for a pinch runner. Charles Margiotti of Philadelphia was first with the correct answer.
This week's question: Name the only three pitchers to get the final out in two consecutive World Series.