There’s No Relief in Sight: Dodgers Take 13-2 Beating
Al Campanis was not here to share in the Dodgers’ contribution to historical excess Monday night--a 13-2 loss to the Phillies that, coming after Sunday’s 12-3 loss to the Pirates, set an L.A. record for worst consecutive beatings.
And unless he caught a red-eye Monday night from Los Angeles, where he had returned to oversee the amateur draft, Campanis won’t be present for today’s 1 p.m. workout cum punishment that an incensed Manager Tom Lasorda decreed for his team, which now has lost six of seven on this trip of terrors.
But the feeling is growing on this club that the Dodger vice president bears as much responsibility for the team’s back-to-back shellings as any of the uniformed personnel who stood in the line of fire.
To be sure, it was a wretched Jerry Reuss who gave up 11 runs, 9 of them earned, and 13 hits--including 3 home runs--in just 4 innings for his fifth straight loss, which sent his earned-run average spiraling to 6.28.
And it wasn’t Campanis who committed four errors, three in the first inning alone, and made several other borderline boners that all but assured Reuss of one of the worst poundings of his life.
But when it was time to summon fresh arms from the bullpen that would have spared Reuss the humiliation, there weren’t any to be found to stem what ultimately became the Phillies’ 21-hit salute, most hits allowed by the Dodgers in 10 years.
And that is where Campanis comes in. Campanis is the one who decided the Dodgers could get by with a nine-man pitching staff and sent Carlos Diaz to Albuquerque. And, ultimately, it also was his decision to include Alejandro Pena as one of the nine, even though Pena’s shoulder won’t permit him to pitch on consecutive days.
And he, too, is the one who believes it is more essential to have another bat in the lineup, even if it as unproductive one like Cesar Cedeno’s, than another pitcher, whether that pitcher comes from the Dodgers’ minor league system, another team, or even another country.
In effect, then, the Dodgers are trying to make do with eight pitchers. The reality is, they’re not making it, which is why they find themselves five games under .500 and 6 1/2 games out of first in the NL West.
In games in which pitchers other than Fernando Valenzuela or Orel Hershiser have started, the Dodgers have a record of 9-20.
Reuss made a stronger pitch to the finger-pointers than he made to the suddenly revived Phillies, who have won seven straight while scoring 29 runs in their last two games.
“I threw bad pitches and they hit them, and they hit them well,” Reuss said. “I threw good pitches and they hit them, and hit them well.
“If you’re going to blame anybody for the loss, blame me, put it all on my back.
“I would have pitched nine innings and given up 30 runs and it wouldn’t have mattered to me. I just feel bad that the guys who have been giving their all in the bullpen had to come into that game.”
But the problem went beyond Reuss, who eventually was relieved by Ed Vande Berg (three innings) and Ken Howell (one). Lasorda admitted as much in his office afterward, when he wasn’t berating an elderly radio reporter who put his microphone too close to Lasorda’s mouth for the manager’s liking, then asked a question the manager disapproved of.
“Absolutely, it hurts,” Lasorda said, asked how it felt, as a former pitcher, to watch Reuss get bombed for home runs by Mike Schmidt, Jeff Stone and ex-Dodger Ron Roenicke, who had a career-high four hits.
“Jerry should have been out of there in the second inning. He knew the situation, but he was out there busting his butt, trying to get them out.”
The radio reporter, who was carrying a portable tape recorder, asked Lasorda for a characterization of the Dodgers’ problems to date.
“I don’t discuss my problems,” Lasorda snapped.
“Eighty percent of the world don’t give a bleep about my problems, and the other 20% are glad I have them.
“Which percent are you, sir?”
The radio reporter did not answer.
Reuss sidestepped the issue of whether the Dodgers are short of pitchers.
“That’s a management question,” he said. “There are two people you can ask. One is Lasorda. The other is Campanis. Ask ‘em straight up. That’s all I can tell you.”
Lasorda had held a team meeting before the game. “Let’s put it this way,” he said after that meeting, “I didn’t walk around hugging them.”
What he said after the game, Lasorda didn’t even want the visiting clubhouse man, Ted Kessler, to hear. Kessler was asked to leave. Even Lasorda’s brothers, Morris and Vince, were kept waiting outside.
But, for Lasorda to give up a lunch at his brothers’ restaurant, he had to be angry. This is the first time since 1984 in Pittsburgh, where Lasorda could be heard screaming through the clubhouse walls at Pedro Guerrero, that he has called a workout on the same day as a game.
“I guess the easiest thing to say is the performance kind of spoke for itself,” said Mike Marshall, one of the lesser offenders, though he was charged with an error on a ball he lost in the lights.
“I think you have to take into consideration the situation with our bullpen. There are two or three guys pitching because they don’t have any choice.
“I’m not making excuses for our performance, but I am making excuses about our bullpen and pitching.
“I try to worry exclusively about things on the field, but we’re human. But we have to believe Tommy and the whole organization are trying to do the best they can.
“These are rough times, but you have to hope we can fight through them.”
Dennis Powell is scheduled to pitch a simulated game and says he feels stronger now than before he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow, but Manager Tom Lasorda said the pitcher isn’t close to returning yet. Trainer Bill Buhler said Powell has not experienced any pain in his elbow, though he has had some stiffness in his shoulder, and suggested a 20-day rehabilitation period in Albuquerque might be necessary. . . . Mike Schmidt has hit more of his 467 career home runs off Jerry Reuss than any other National League pitcher. Schmidt has taken Reuss deep 10 times. “Either my karma must be bad or the wind was blowing out,” Reuss said. “Just his night. But it wasn’t Schmidt alone who got me.”