Los Angeles Times - September 8, 1980
Castillo Finishes Off Phils, 6-0
He Allows Only 2 Hits in 6 Innings of Relief; Dodger Lead Is 2
By Mike Littwin, Times Staff Writer
Davey Lopes, even while admitting it's a cliche, keeps talking about a 25-man effort, and about how everyone is pitching in.
Actually, some are pitching in and some are pitching out. The point is, the Dodgers are pitching well, so well that Manager Tom Lasorda proclaimed his staff "the best from top to bottom in baseball."
They looked good from any angle Sunday. The Dodgers got a three-hit shutout from Dave Goltz and Bobby Castillo (mostly from Castillo) as they beat Philadelphia, 6-0, before 39,083 at Dodger Stadium.
It was the fourth Dodger shutout of the recent home stand, which ended Sunday with the Dodgers winning 10 of 11 games.
They've won 17 of their last 20, bringing to mind something else Lopes said, about 20 games ago. Something about how the next 20 games might decide the National League West.
The division-leading Dodgers are now two games ahead of Houston which lost to St. Louis, 2-0, five ahead of Cincinnati and 7½ ahead of Atlanta.
Coincidentally, they're the three teams the Dodgers play seven times over the next nine days.
Some might consider them important.
"The next five games (two in Houston and three in Cincinnati)," Lopes said, "will be the five most emotional of the season. And we're sure not going to take Atlanta lightly like Pittsburgh did."
All the Dodgers have to do is take them the way they took the East. Which is something like the way Sherman took the South.
In this home stand, they beat Montreal four times. New York three times and Philadelphia three of four. They jumped on the Phillies early Sunday, getting all their runs by the fourth.
Goltz was gone by then. He left in the Phillie fourth, an inning after he twisted his right ankle covering first base. Castillo – short man, long man, friend of Stan the Man – pitched six innings of two-hit relief.
He's the third man in what has been a three-man bullpen. Steve Howe is the star, and Don Stanhouse the old pro. Castillo is the understudy, who has to learn all the parts.
When the Dodgers weren't going well, it was the bullpen that took the heat.
Recently, the bullpen has been like a cool breeze.
"They said the kids would fold in the pennant race," Castillo said. "They said we couldn't do it.
"We showed them."
They showed Lasorda, who has been watching with some interest. "The bullpen is the difference," Lasorda said, "I've been saying all along you win and lose games in the bullpen."
Castillo, the winner Sunday, didn't expect to win or lose anything that day. "I was just relaxing in the bullpen when Dave got hurt,” Castillo said. “I figured (Rick) Sutcliffe would come in.”
But Sutcliffe, ex-starter and supposed long man, isn't pitching these days. So, Castillo pitched and pitched and pitched, the longest he's ever relieved and the most innings he's gone since starting a game in ‘77.
"My arm feels good," Castillo said, explaining that Red Adams would ask him after each inning if he felt all right.
"I finally told him to leave me alone," Castillo said.
Castillo said it was the best he's ever pitched. Lopes has said the Dodgers are playing as well as they have all year.
Lasorda said he took his hat off to his players, and he did, a cowboy hat that someone had given him Sunday, perhaps in honor of country music day at the stadium.
Had Backs to the Wall
"We had our backs to the wall on the last road trip," Lasorda said. "Think where we'd be if we'd gone 5-4 on the road and won six at home.
"What's gratifying is that we passed Houston when they were playing super baseball."
Asked if that would serve to demoralize the Astros, Lasorda said: "I think so. I hope so."
More demoralizing might be the pitching of the Dodgers, who take today off to travel to Houston. The staff has put together a 2.41 ERA over the last 20 games. The bullpen has been winning or saving games that once were lost.
Summing It Up
"Pitching, defense and timely hitting," said Lopes, summing up the recent Dodger surge.
"I know it's a cliche, but we're getting a 25-man effort," said Lopes, who got two hits and two RBIs before retiring with what has become a chronic hamstring pull in his right leg. "We've shown more togetherness this year."
Because of injuries, a lot more Dodgers are getting to play, and an uncommon number are playing well. As a result, just now the Dodgers have momentum on their side.
Lopes couldn't help but be optimistic. "It looks very good for the Los Angeles Dodgers," he said.
Tim McCarver, who was recently activated by the Phillies, pinch-hit Sunday to become the 11th modern player first catcher to play in four decades... Lopes, who is 37 for 91 in his last 23 games, has raised his average to.267. "Davey is hitting the way he knew he could," Lasorda said. Lopes thanked Lasorda for sticking with him through his long slump. "Some people, I should say one person, thought I shouldn't be playing," Lopes said. He didn't say who that one person was... The Phillies came to L.A. a game up in the East and left a game behind Montreal, in second place. The Phillies, who scored three runs in the last three games, play two in Pittsburgh starting tonight... Matchups for the Astros' series: Jerry Reuss (16-5) against Joaquin Andujar (2-5) Tuesday and Burt Hooton (13-5) vs. Nolan Ryan (9-8) Wednesday... The Dodgers picked up their first run on a Dick Ruthven balk... "I sure hope Houston loses," Dusty Baker said, before he knew they did. "It would sure help to have a two-game lead"... The Dodgers only have 13 more road games. After this trip, the Dodgers have three each in San Diego and San Francisco... Only once did the Phillies, who were playing with their opening-day lineup for only the third time since June 1, get a runner as far as third base... Castillo, asked if he were enjoying the bullpen's recent success, said: "I'm eating it up."