Reading Eagle - September 29, 1980
Phillies Perform in Playoff Style
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – Well, folks, the Philadelphia Phillies are obviously ready for the playoffs.
Sunday afternoon, in their biggest game of the year, they played the way they do in the playoffs.
The Montreal Expos whipped the Phillies by 8-3 and moved back into first place in the National League East by a half-game, with six games left for the Expos and seven for the Phils. Gary Carter cracked two homers and a double for four RBIs and Steve Rogers fired a five-hitter.
Ah, the playoff memories which were stirred Sunday:
- Garry Maddox can’t catch a crucial fly ball. Remember the fourth game in ’78?
- A double to the fence carries just a shade too high. Remember the third game in ’77?
- The demands of television got blamed. Remember the fourth game in ’77?
- The Phillies don’t show any offense to speak of until they’re down by 7-1. Remember the first game in ’78?
- The winning pitcher gets a key hit in the sixth inning. Remember the first game in ’76?
- The visitors clinch with a couple of runs in the seventh off a lefty reliever. Remember the second game in ’76?
- The pitcher a year out of Reading suffers from a lack of control. Remember the third game in 76?
- There’s even an arguable call at first base which goes against the Phillies. Remember the third game in ’77?
And a cynic might also point out that Steve Carlton lost a big home game Saturday, just as he did in ’76 and ’77.
“If they look at themselves in the mirror,” suggested Manager Dallas Green, “nobody can really appreciated the way we played the last two days. That’s not Philly baseball, and that’s not winning baseball.”
“So many little things seem to affect this team that they don’t play over. That’s what I mean when I talk about character. They don’t stay within themselves, and do the things they’re capable of doing.
“We’ve got to put aside every personal problem. We’ve got to do the things we have to do despite our personal frustrations, or feelings, or likes or dislikes. I think we’re capable of doing it, but so far we haven’t done it,” Green said.
Certainly one thing Garry Maddox is capable of doing is catching a line drive. But he didn’t, in the key play of the Expos’ three-run sixth which blew open a taut 2-1 duel. He had as much trouble seeing the ball as he did seeing a charging third baseman while bunting on Saturday.
Maddox lost Chris Speier’s drive in the glaring sun with two on and one out, and it went for a two-run triple. Speier scored a minute later on a ground single by Rogers, which could have been flagged down had there been two out and the infield back.
It is no sin to lose a line drive in the sun, but it may be a sin to lose it when you don’t have your sunglasses down. Green at first said he through the glasses were down. Maddox, to his credit, told the truth as he did in the ’78 muff.
“You got to get to the ball first,” said Garry. “I got to the spot the same time as the ball, and bang, there was the sun. That’s all I saw.”
Maddox insisted that the glasses “don’t help much when the ball’s hit directly into the sun.”
Did Green think the glasses would have made a difference?
“Well,” said Dallas, “at least he would have gotten the questions about them. And there wouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind. It sure wouldn’t make catching the ball any more difficult. I know I can see better with them on than off.”
Somebody wanted to know if Dallas had a rule about the glasses.
“I got a lot of rules, but they make their own options,” he said. “No, I don’t have a rule about that. They’ve played the outfield long enough to know what they should do.”
Naturally, Green had some words about the starting the game 100 minutes later than normal to accommodate national television.
“There’s no question it was treacherous out there,” he said. “One thing TV forgets to ask is how it is to see to hit and how it is to see to play when they move a game.”
Would it do any good if they asked?
“No, we’d still take the money.”
Dallas did add that it was the same for both teams, and “if anybody should be at a disadvantage, they should. We play 81 games here.”
Double Bounces Out
The double to the fence which figured was not just too high for Luzinski’s glove, as in ’77, but just too high (on the bounce) to hit the fence.
It was stroked by Mike Schmidt with Bake McBride on first and two out in the third. Had it hit the fence, McBride would have scored the tying run easily. But it went for a ground-rule double, preventing a tie.
The Phils also lost a run in the eighth when Manny Trillo was called out at first by Eric Gregg, which led to a record-time ejection of Dallas.
“The world knows he missed the call,” complained Green, who made Gregg’s weight and agility the basic subject of his x-rated argument. “He didn’t beat us, but he contributed. If you got a guy on the ropes, you never know what might happen.”
The Phils managed only three hits through seven innings, one being Larry Bowa’s RBI single in the second. Greg Gross singled and Bake McBride doubled in the two-run eighth.
Meanwhile, Bob Walk was on the wild side again, passing four in his five innings and going to three balls on five of the first 10 he faced. Carter homered in the second, and a walk turned into a run in the third.
Dickie Noles walked the first man he faced after coming on in the sixth, and that started the three-run flurry. Carter hit a two-run homer off Kevin Saucier in the seventh, and Maddox played his bloop single into an RBI double in the ninth.
“There’s no question the Expos feel good going out of here,” said Green. “But they say they play better when they’re in second place; we’ll see.
“I’m glad they’re playing the Cardinals; we were just glad to get away from them. We have the extra game, and we’ve got to win that.
“This isn’t the end of the world,” he summed up. “The sun will come up tomorrow.”
It was pointed out that the problem was that it started down too soon Sunday.
PHIL-PHILLERS – Rogers (16-11) is 4-1 this month, and owns a 2.04 ERA for his last 67 innings (dating back to Aug. 25)… Carter, who homered on a 2-0 pitch leading off the second Saturday and Sunday, has hit 29 homers this year, 13 at the Vet in his career to rank fourth among all visitors… Sunday’s 40,305 made it 144,250 for the three games… Bowa missed two balls at short, one of which was ruled too hot to handle.
Smith, Moreland Getting the Call
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – “Are you tempted to change your lineup now?” a guy with a microphone asked Dallas Green after Sunday’s 8-3 loss by the Phillies to Montreal.
“It’s no temptation,” shot back Green. “It’s going to be changed.”
“Our lack of offense is no joking matter,” stressed Green, who has seen his troops collect 37 hits in their last six games and score 17 runs in their last seven.
“We’ve given them all the opportunity,” he continued. “There’s not a helluva lot we can do except change faces. When you’ve got four guys hitting 7-or-8-for-80 some, you’re in bad shape.
“But it’s not really bad shape because we’ve been winning. That’s a credit to our pitching. Today it wasn’t too good, but otherwise it’s been super.”
The Phils won games by 3-2, 2-1 (twice) and 1-0 last week, playing three games in which they got six hits (two wins) and two in which they got five (one win).
In the last seven games, Pete Rose is 3-for-29, Greg Luzinski 2-for-21, and Bob Boone 1-for-19. Mike Schmidt is 2-for-16 for the last five games. That adds up to 8-for-85.
The obvious changes will be rookies Lonnie Smith for Luzinski in left and Keith Moreland for Boone behind the plate (both have started only once in the last two weeks).
“They’re the guys with the best averages,” Green pointed out. Smith is hitting .336 and Moreland .329. McBride (.308) is the only other Phil above .291.
He said he would discuss other possible changes with his coaches. He may put Del Unser on first for Rose, but it’s tough to take out such an experienced hand. He won’t do it without a talk with Pete. Schmidt is safe.
Somebody wanted to know if this might hurt some feelings.
“This team needs constant reminders to do what they’re expected to do, and they get their feelings hurt when I remind them,” said Dallas. “But I couldn’t care less about feelings. I’ve never really cared about them.”
He also planned to set up his last-week pitching rotations today. Larry Christenson goes tonight. The guess is that Marty Bystrom will be bypassed till Thursday, with Dick Ruthven going Tuesday and Steve Carlton Wednesday, so they could go again Saturday and Sunday.
That would Christenson in again on Friday.
Bob Walk, Sunday’s loser, has won only one of his nine starts since Aug. 16, losing five with three no decisions. His ERA of 4.75 is 1¼ points higher than the team ERA.
If the Phils win 3-of-4 from the Cubs while Montreal wins 2-of-3 from the Cards, they’ll go into Montreal for the final three-game series all even, making it a best-of-three for the title.