Reading Eagle - June 25, 1980
Phillie Comebacks Fail To Inspire Bullpen
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – A relief pitcher who sees his team tie the game for him should be charged up about the possibility of earning a win.
But for Lerrin LaGrow, Ron Reed and Tug McGraw Tuesday night, that sight was about as encouraging as a 5-4 school-board vote to an incoming superintendent.
The Philadelphia Phillies, in dropping a 7-6 battle in 10 innings to first-place Montreal at the Vet, tied the game with four in the fifth, tied it again in the seventh, and tied it again with two out in the ninth.
But each time the reliever of the moment allowed the Expos to regain the lead in the very next inning. Toss in the four runs and 10 hits former reliever Dickie Noles allowed in five innings in his second start, and a guy who’s been watching the Reading bullpen this year felt right at home.
“I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way they pitched tonight – any of them,” grumbled Dallas Green when the 3-hour, 32-minute game finally ended.
Was he at least encouraged about the way his team kept coming back? “We’re very capable of doing that; I’ve said that all year. But I didn’t find a darn thing encouraging about tonight’s game.”
Well, maybe he could be encouraged about the fact that his pitchers permitted 22 baserunners (18 hits and four walks) plus five stolen bases, and managed to hold the Expos to seven runs.
This was due to the fact that 15 of the hits were singles, and that the hits were neatly spaced throughout the game. The Expos hit in every inning but one. They scored single runs seven times.
Noles’ outing, courtesy of the appellate procedure, indicated that his efforts will be somewhat less successful than, say, the Miranda or Bakke appeals.
Dickie was supposed to have begun a three-day suspension Tuesday for throwing a bat in the direction of umpire Joe West a week ago (plus pay a $500 fine). But wiser heads on the team suggested he appeal, which carries an automatic stay of suspension.
Presumably when he gets around to beginning the suspension (Chub Feeney isn’t going to change his mine), it will come at a more opportune time. But the Phils could hardly have done worse with somebody else starting Tuesday.
‘Didn’t Pitch Smart’
“That wasn’t what I’m used to seeing from Dickie Noles,” said Green. “He didn’t pitch particularly smart.” But Dallas said that Noles will stay in the rotation for awhile. “At least he’s sound,” he said.
“I just didn’t do my job,” said Noles, who refused to talk about the suspension. “I thought I had good stuff, but they laid it to me.”
They also laid it to LaGrow, who faced six batters and saw two of them hit doubled and two of them walk. And to Reed, who gave up four hits in two innings and was lucky he didn’t give up more.
McGraw didn’t do all that badly. He gave up just a two-out walk in his first inning (the ninth), but was touched for a leadoff single by Ron LeFlore in the 10th.
Tug got Rodney Scott to fly out and Andre Dawson to hit back to him, but LeFlore was running on the latter pitch and thus made it to second. After Gary Carter was intentionally walked, Warren Cromartie lashed his third late game-winning hit in the last 12 days.
Did Tug agree with walking Carter, who’d singled home the last go-ahead run in the eighth? (Cromartie hits left, but because of his screwball Tug is probably more effective against righties than lefties.)
“Yeah, I guess you go by the book,” he said. “Carter hits me pretty good.”
“A good hitter is a good hitter,” said Green, who called the Expos (pesky little devils – they’re all over the place.”
Steals set up two of the Expo runs, in addition to LeFlore’s speed setting up the last one. The pitchers did a horrific job of keeping the runners close.
Actually, one reliever did do the job – but he only faced one batter. Kevin Saucier rescued LaGrow from further trouble in the sixth by getting Cromartie to hit back to him.
A Pair of Leaps’
The Phils got back in the game and stayed in it because of two superb leaps – one by Andre Dawson which failed and one by Pete Rose which succeeded.
Dawson leaped in front of the center field fence for Bake McBride’s towering drive in the fifth, with the first Phil run in and one on. The ball squirted out of his glove twice, but he caught it on the third try. The problem was that it hit the fence in between the second and third, and so went for a triple.
Mike Schmidt then followed that with his 21st homer to left, tying the game at 4-4 and finishing starter David Palmer.
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Rose took off as if he were on a pogo stick to snare LeFlore’s liner which would have produced two runs.
It was 5-4 for Montreal at the time. Pete was first up in the bottom half and walked, then tied the game by coming all the way around on McBride’s hit-and-run single on which the throw got passed the cutoff man.
The Phils tied it the final time in the ninth on a flurry started by Schmidt’s one-out single. Garry Maddox, who’d seen leadoff hits wasted in both the sixth and eighth, rapped a single over second with two out to get home pinch-runner Lonnie Smith.
The Phils, who had left runners on third in the sixth, seventh and eighth, and one on second in the ninth, went down 1-2-3 in the 10th.
It did take an excellent play by Chris Speier at short to get the second out, though, on John Vukovich, the 20th player used by Green (everybody but the other current starters and the ailing Dick Ruthven, who should be ready soon).
“We’ll soon have the three guys back from the disabled list (Valentine, Parrish and Lee),” said Montreal’s Dick Williams. “Everybody’s playing like they don’t want to be cut.”
Holding a 2½-game lead without three regulars like that is quite an accomplishment. “We’re not doing it with mirrors,” said Williams. “We’re doing it with good personnel.”
PHIL-PHILLERS – The Phils missed a run in the eighth because Larry Bowa popped up a bunt attempt… Elias Sosa (5-2) got the win by working the last four innings… Palmer had two of the hits off Noles, one leading to a run… Dawson hit his ninth homer for the Expos’ second run; LeFlore and Scott were three-hit men, along with Schmidt and Maddox… Cromartie is the fourth leading hitter in the league at .318… Ironically the Expos didn’t score in the only inning in which they started with two hits (when Rose caught the liner).