Philadelphia Inquirer - September 6, 1980
Dodgers, Sutton end Phils’ streak
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES – It may have looked to the Phillies last night as though Don Sutton could have thrown any pitch in creation anywhere he wanted. But that wasn't really true.
"Nah, I don't think I could have thrown a knuckleball," said Sutton. "But the pitches I do possess, I could pretty much spot them most of the time."
Sutton managed to spot them well enough to shut down the Phillies on three singles for eight innings. Don Stanhouse then came on and got the fastest three outs in his personal history of interminable innings. And the Dodgers ended the Phillies' four-game winning streak, 1-0.
Sutton hasn't exactly been Mr. Complete Game this year. But the reason he didn't finish this one was a slight reinjury of his broken toe.
"I banged the toe a couple times, and it started throbbing a little bit," Sutton said. "And I'd rather be able to make four or five more starts than run the risk of doing something wrong by staying out there "
To win his 10th game of the year, all Sutton had to do was outpitch Steve Carlton on a night when all Carlton allowed was Ron Cey's 23d homer.
Carlton went seven innings, allowed six hits, fanned six. Every time the Dodgers made trouble for him, he escaped. But the game disappeared in one swing of Cey's bat.
The Phils stayed percentage points ahead of the- second-place Expos in the NL East, though. And the Pirates remain a game back.
When you compare Carlton's and Sutton's seasons, there are two things you notice – how close their earned-run averages are (2.15 for Sutton, 2.27 for Carlton), and how different their records look (21-8 for Carlton, 10-4 for Sutton).
One reason for Sutton's lack of wins may be his recent tendency to be just a seven-inning pitcher. Before last night he had completed only four of 26 starts and was averaging only about 6.6 innings per start.
So that's why he has somehow managed to compile more noed-sions than wins (12-10) despite the incredible record of having allowed one run or fewer in 16 of 26 starts.
The Dodgers win an awful lot of games late, so sticking around a while tends to help. In Sutton's case, it might have helped him win a Cy Young award, because he is having his best season in eight years.
Carlton, on the other hand, has been just as consistently good but had only four no-decisions in his first 32 starts. He is averaging just under eight innings per start. And that gives him a lot more chances to win.
Last night also marked Carlton's first start under the new and heretofore undefeated four-man rotation plan.
Although he has worked a ton of innings (254 including last night), Carlton figured to be the guy who would least miss the lost day of rest. His record working with three days' rest is 16-4 over the last two years (7-1 this season).
But he ran into Cey in the second inning last night, and five pitches later he was down a run. Carlton simply hung a 2-2 breaking ball, and Cey towered it over the 385 sign in left-center.
Carlton has allowed four homers over his last six starts. And Cey has two of them. He is the only guy in the league with two home runs off Carlton this year.
The Phillies got only one runner to second off Sutton over the first seven innings, Mike Schmidt in the fourth. But the Dodgers were making Carlton's evening a little more eventful.
Davey Lopes bounced a base hit beind his back with one out in the third. But before Lopes could go into one of his track meets, Carlton picked him off. Except this was no ordinary pickoff.
Lopes didn't feel like giving up that easy, so he strung out the rundown about as long as a guy possibly can. The putout finally went 1-3-6-1-4, which is also the ZIP code of Potsdam, N.Y.
Then with one out in the fourth, Steve Garvey lashed a sinking liner to short center. Lonnie Smith just missed a diving catch of it, and the ball skidded far enough away from him for Garvey to turn it into a double.
Carlton didn't mess seriously with Cey this time. He walked him on four pitches. But Joe Ferguson bounced into a double play three pitches later, so it stayed 1-0.
There was more Dodgers trouble in the fifth. Mickey Hatcher thunked a dribbler toward second leading it off. Manny Trillo couldn't come up with the charge play, so Hatcher had his third hit in six at-bats off Carlton this year.
Carlton was thinking pickoff on Hatcher, too. But when he tried it, first-base ump Dave Pallone was thinking balk. So Hatcher was on second. And after Derrel Thomas chopped to Larry Bowa, he was on third with one out.
Sutton was the batter, though. And since Tommy Lasorda turned on the squeeze play three times in three games earlier this week, you didn't have to be Tony Kubek to figure out what was coming.
The Phils pitched out, and there was no hope for Hatcher, who was hung up badly between third and home. Bob Boone dutifully chased him back to the bag. And Hatcher then tried the only device possible. When Boone finally threw to third, he batted the throw away with his arm.
Third-base ump Satch Davidson didn't see it. But after Bowa practically jumped into the third tier, home-plate ump Ed Montague called him out.
Carlton almost sailed through his first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. He had two outs and an 0-2 count on Dusty Baker. But Baker jacked a ground-rule double into the corner in left. So suddenly, Carlton had to get Garvey to keep it close.
But Schmidt backhanded his rocket down the line. And the question remained: Could the Phils ever get to Sutton?
Personal goals unreachable, Luzinski thinks ‘team’
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES – He knows now that he has no more chance to lead the league in homers than Rafael Landestoy.
He knows now that no matter how hot he gets, his personal statistics are not exactly going to rival George Brett's.
He knows now that no matter what this season could have meant to him personally, there is little chance to accomplish that now.
"My attitude right now," said Greg Luzinski before last night's Phillies-Dodgers game, "is to just try and get myself together this last month. I'll do anything I can to help the team. I'm not looking at any personal goals. If I can put together a hot 30 games, maybe that might get us there."
He was gone a month and a half, and the Phillies adjusted. In fact, maybe it wasn't until the 10 games after he came back that they proved just how well they adjusted.
In the 10 games that followed Luzinski's thunderous welcome-back homer against Bob Knepper on Aug. 24, the Phillies hit exactly, um, no homers. That's zero. None. Zilch. For 99 innings.
The 1962 Phillies did that once. But they had an excuse. They had people like Bobby Wine, Ruben Amaro and the immortal Ted Savage playing for them. They also never got to bat against Dallas Green (he pitched for them, so to speak).
Luzinski and Mike Schmidt finally ended that wondrous streak Thursday, with homers off Jerry Reuss in the Phils' 3-2 win over L.A. But what is more remarkable is that in the last eight games in which the Phillies weren't hitting any homers, they won six of them.
"No question, there's not as much power as we used to have here," said Luzinski. "But the thing is, we're playing fundamentally good baseball. We're getting hits when we need them. We're moving runners. And when you're not getting the home run, the big thing for an offense is to do things right."
It is basically a scramble-for-runs offense now. But it sure wouldn't be hurt if Luzinski could crank up one month's worth of work from the 1975-78 Luzinski years.
Going into last night, The Bull was hitting only.235 (8-for-34), with two homers and four RBIs since his return from the Hospital League. And that includes a 4-for-6 start in his first two games.
"Well, when I came out I didn't expect to go 4-for-6," he said. "I just started seeing the ball good, and I started hitting it. But then I'll get into this thing where I do too much moving in there. And when I do that I don't pick up the ball as well.
"The big thing for me is to just stay in there. But a lot of times that's tough to do. I'm trying to hit the ball hard, and I don't feel myself moving. But I'm doing it."
He thinks often of the 15 homers he had when he was hurt July 5. He thinks a decent September still might get him back into the top five or six in the home-run race. (Only five guys in the league have more than 23.)
But that's not what Luzinski is after now. Finishing fifth in home runs wouldn't save his year. Finishing first in the National League East would.
"That," said Luzinski, "would make it a good year for everybody."
NOTES: Garry Maddox was the odd outfielder out against Don Sutton last night, the fourth time this week Maddox hasn't started. While his team is at its 1980 high point, Maddox is gloomily going through one of the worst weeks of his career three errors in the last two games he has started and a 1-for-20 skid at the plate.... Before Thursday, Luzinski hadn't hit a homer on the road since April 20.... Tug McGraw's 17 saves are his most as a Phillie. His previous high was 16 in 1979.