Camden Courier-Post - September 7, 1980

Phillies bow, topple from lead


LOS ANGELES – Bob Welch and Steve Howe combined to scatter seven hits and Rick Monday cracked a two-run home run to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-3 victory over the Phillies last night, knocking the Eastern Division team out of first place.


Welch (12-9), who worked until the eighth inning, kept the Phils at bay with the exception of the third inning, when be yielded all three runs.


Monday, aside from hurting the Phillies with his bat, virtually robbed Bake McBride of a home run in the third inning when he leaped above the fence at the 395-foot sign in center field to glove his high drive with Pete Rose on second base.


The loss dropped the Phils one game behind Montreal, which blanked San Francisco, 9-0, earlier in the day, but since Pittsburgh was defeated by Atlanta, Manager Dallas Green's team remained a game ahead of the Pirates.


The loss was doubly painful to the Phillies, as pitcher Larry Christenson re-injured a groin pull he sustained in his last start at San Francisco and was forced out in the second inning. It was not known how long he would be sidelined.


Welch opened the game by whiffing Lonnie Smith, the fourth straight time the Phillies outfielder had struck out. He got Rose on a liner to shortstop Bill Russell and then made Mike Schmidt his second strikeout victim.


Christenson, who pitched eight innings of one-hit, no-decision ball in his lasting outing against San Francisco, survived a first-inning jam by getting Ron Cey to fly out to centerfielder Smith with runners on first and second. After Davey Lopes struck out and Jay Johnstone grounded out to Schmidt, Dusty Baker singled to right and moved to second as Christenson walked Steve Garvey on four pitches. Cey then skied out.


Welch, a power-pitcher, got the Phils in order in the second, getting McBride to ground out, Greg Luzinski on a fly to right field and Manny Trillo on strikes.


Los Angeles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Monday's single, Mike Scioscia's single to right on a 3-2 pitch, Welch's groundout and Lopes' double down the left field line.


It was after Lopes' two-bagger and running a 3-1 count to Johnstone that Christenson was forced to leave the game with his groin injury. Randy Lerch replaced Christenson and Johnstone greeted him with a run-scoring single to right field. Baker grounded out to end the inning.


The Phils tied the game in the third inning as Larry Bowa singled, moved to third on Bob Boone's soft liner to left-center field and scored on a passed ball by Mike Scioscia. Lerch sacrificed Boone to third and Smith scored him with a single to right. Rose sent Smith to third on a hit-and-run single, from where he scored on Schmidt's sacrifice fly. Monday then robbed McBride of a home run when he leaped and caught his drive just above the center field fence.


The Phils threatened in the fourth. Luzinski singled and after Trillo struck out, Bowa was hit by a pitched ball. Boone then lined to shortstop Russell, who tossed to Lopes in time to double Bowa at second.


Los Angeles took a 4-3 lead in the fourth on Mike Scioscia's single, an unsuccessful attempted sacrifice by Russell, a sacrifice by Welch and a single by Lopes, which just got under Schmidt's glove.


The Phils put together a two-out threat in the fifth when, after two were out, Rose singled to center field. Schmidt then hit a long, high drive that Baker caught in front of the left field wall for the third out.


The Dodgers ran their lead to 6-3 and chased Lerch in the fifth inning. After retiring Baker, Lerch yielded his first walk, to Garvey, and got Cey on a fly to Schmidt. However, Monday hit an inside pitch into the right field stands to score Garvey ahead of him. Dickie Noles replaced Lerch and got Russell on a fly ball to Smith.


The Phils put two runners on base in the seventh inning, but Welch blazed a called third strike past Rose with pinchhitter George Vukovich (single) on second and Smith (walk) on first.


Warren Brusstar pitched the seventh inning for the Phils and yielded Garvey his third walk of the game.


The Dodgers closed out the scoring in the ninth inning on Lopes' RBI single.


EXTRA INNINGS – Johnstone, who is batting .296, has 11 pinchhits, four short of the Dodger record held by Manny Mota and Ed Goodson... Johnstone's previous career high was 10, set in 1975 with the Phillies... The Dodgers have won 19 games during their final at-bat and Friday night's 1-0 victory over Steve Carlton was their 18th shutout... Trillo, obviously tiring, has started every game since July 19... McBride entered the game with just one hit in his last 17 at-bats... The Phils wrap up their season series with the Dodgers and with Western Division teams today when Dick Ruthven (14-8, 3.S1) goes against Dave Goltz (7-7, 4.76).

Phils learned to believe in selves on road trip


By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post


PHILADELPHIA – Joe changed his mind about asking a hypnotist to help him forget the Phillies. And Sonny has suddenly gotten very intense about getting his kids tube socks... the kind he can get only at Veterans Stadium.


It's happening everywhere, a mass form of ESP that has clicked in the minds of local sports fans like the final tumbler of a bank vault dropping into place.


The Phils have found it. Not that anyone knows exactly what it is. Or what caused it to appear after two dreary summers during which Dallas Green's team made it clear that they didn't have it.


It s a smell, a feel, an aura and a sense that is more sixth than common. It's some enchanted evening, you will meet a stranger. It's good, good, good, good vibrations. It's destiny. It's born-again baseball.


One minute everyone seemed to be engaged in a football seance. You know, all join hands and concentrate real hard on whether the Eagle team Dick Vermeil is unleashing today upon the NFL is an illusion of Super Bowl Present or merely Phase Four in the club's relentless climb toward that rarified, talent-laden stratosphere where only the most super of teams reside.


Yet, in the blink of an eye, the common man found himself using his idle moments to think not of Bill Bergey's knee or Tony Franklin's foot, but rather of what dissolved the mental-force field of self-imposed limitations that the Phillies have been bumping into for so long.


Don't give me that blabber about how the Phils were hanging tough all season. And how certain guys where having outstanding years all along. Anyone who saw them play during the recent swing through California knows this renaissance has nothing at all to do with averages, streaks, percentages, earned run averages or who is in a groove.


This is a team that seemed to look around in the spring and come to the subconscious conclusion that it really wasn't as good as Pittsburgh or Montreal. And that it was up to each individual to perform with enough statistic excellence so that when the club reached Blame City, he would not be held personally accountable.


What the Phils failed to take into consideration was their own capacity for rising to the occasion. Not in terms of their own bountiful talent, but in their forgotten joy of allowing their spirit to be challenged and meeting that challenge.


This is what the manager was talking about all summer when he kept bringing up the question of "character." Guys on the street call it heart. And Green knew his guys had it.


Yet, too many players were like the young corporate executive whose idea of success was to qualify for a great pension. Until, one day, he went into hock up to his eyebrows and made a million bucks by wheeling and dealing in the stock market.


What the Phillies tasted in San Francisco was that type of success, the kind that true champions lust after because it is the ultimate in fulfillment.


Giants' pitcher Vida Blue threw down the gauntlet and Philly righthander Larry Christenson threw it right back in his face in a pitching duel that was as basic and old-fashioned as, "Okay big guy, you and me in the alley."


The bottom line was that it brought out the best in the Phils. In three days of this intense, high-risk baseball, it was hard to find a player who hadn't done something so exceptional or so basically outstanding... well, when was the last time you remember fans back home whooping and hollering at a television screen?


Granted, several pieces have fallen into place for the Phils since they kissed August goodbye, not the least of which is the fact that the expanding of the roster with eager minor leaguers has given Manager Green the opportunity to use the "Oklahoma City Connection" to the fullest.


When the Phils' bench was at its best a few years ago, so was the team. Now, the cycle seems to be repeating itself. And Green now finds himself in the delightful dilemma of being able to use the best man in almost any situation, thus making Lonnie Smith, Keith Moreland, Greg Gross, Del Unser and all the rest as valuable and dangerous as any starter.


Instead of trying to pick between two people, Green ends up using both. Opportunities to produce aren't as plentiful for the individuals, but that just makes each chance to help the cause that much more important to the players.


Obviously, the renewed confidence of relievers Tug McGraw and Warren Brusstar (and the posititive things that does for Ron Reed) is at the heart of the Phillies' revival.


This is as much mental as it is physical, however. Pitchers thrive when they know exactly what's expected of them and when they will be used. The bullpen has gotten the handle on itself because it can now get a clear picture of the starting rotation.


By going to the four-man rotation of Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and Bob Walk, Green has eliminated a lot of uncertainty and, in the process, has set a pattern of extra work that is sharpening the arms he is using to a fine edge.


So what you have is a Phillies team that has solved its three basic weaknesses, which were pitching, bench and attitude.


It would be nice, however, if the team comes to the realization that the fans aren't flocking to its corner just because it resides in first place. The truth is, the team could have been in first place all summer and the fans still would have yawned in its face. What the fans want is what they saw in San Francisco. Hell, the Phils could have lost all those games and still come away with more fan support than 20 of those mid-summer sleepwalk victories had gotten them.


If the Phillies play the rest of the season like they did on the West Coast, they'd probably get a tickertape parade... even if they lost every game.


That's the way sports fans are around here. They have a sixth sense about things like desire, pride and total effort.


This past week, they felt the earth tremble ever so slightly. They are ready to believe once more in the Phillies because they know the Phillies have begun to believe in themselves.