On May 22, 1983, the Phillies and Cubs did some more body swapping, reliever Willie Hernandez going to Philly for starter Dick Ruthven. Ruthven anchored the Cub rotation, and Hernandez helped the Phils win a pennant. Then, in that March 27 trade, Philadelphia sent Dernier, Matthews and reliever Porfi Altamirano to Chicago for Campbell and a minor league catcher. "Every trade we've made with Dallas has helped both teams," says Alexander.
That last Phillies-Cubs deal was interconnected with intricate team needs and another trade. The Phils needed righthanded hitting, and on March 24 they had sent Hernandez and lefthanded hitter Dave Bergman to Detroit for two righthanded hitters, catcher-first baseman John Wockenfuss and outfielder Glenn Wilson. That deal, in turn, made Matthews and Dernier expendable to the Phils and desirable to the Cubs; Dernier, in particular, has satisfied Cub needs for defense and speed.
The inevitable result is that the Phillies and Cubs are remarkably similar. If there's a better one-two punch than Philadelphia second baseman Juan Samuel (.307, eight triples, 27 stolen bases, 35 runs through Sunday) and centerfielder Von Hayes (.312,14 steals), it can only be Chicago's Dernier (.315,23 steals, .415 on-base percentage, 32 runs) and Sandberg (.324,32 runs, 14 doubles, .522 slugging percentage, 33 runs batted in). Campbell (3-0, 3.90 ERA) and Stoddard (3-0, 2.28) are both quite effective as middle relievers. The 1983 Fireman of the Year, Holland is off to a faster 1984 start with 10 saves; Chicago's Lee Smith, who has nine, has converted 53 of his last 61 save opportunities.
Is there any real difference between these clubs? "Yes," said the Cubs' Bowa. "We're getting our players by trades, and the Phillies are still getting some of theirs out of their farm system."
Indeed, Philadelphia's Thursday starter was Charles Hudson, a 1983 graduate of the farm system. Hudson, 25, had a 5-3 record, but his 5.26 ERA loomed larger still in the absence of league ERA leader John Denny (4-3, 1.55), who had been put on the disabled list that very afternoon because of an aching elbow. "When a young pitcher has some success, it's only natural for him to try to throw like a guy who's been there 10 years," said Phillie pitching coach Claude Osteen. "He was getting too careful."
Suddenly, Hudson was young and reckless again. After throwing strikes on his first 10 pitches, he discarded most of his curves for fastballs and hard sliders. And suddenly the Cubs, who had four ex-Phillies in the starting lineup, looked old. With the score tied 1-1, one out and Ozzie Virgil on base in the second inning, DeJesus hit a double-play ball to Bowa. Bowa fumbled it for one error and threw it into rightfield for another, allowing Virgil to score and DeJesus to reach third. Then Samuel was hit by a pitch. Five Phillies—Hayes, Schmidt, Joe Lefebvre, Sixto Lezcano and Matuszek—then hit safely, the bottom line being six unearned runs. Adding injury to insult, Bowa jammed a finger diving for Schmidt's hit and was lost for the remainder of the series. The Phils coasted to a 10-2 win.
"As far as I'm concerned, we were just playing the Phillies at the Vet on May 31," Cub manager Jim Frey said. "Unfortunately, some of our players got caught up in old home week. I hope we go back to the business of playing baseball."
Sensing a kill, Alexander predicted that the Phillies also knew how to stop Durham, a contender for the Triple Crown with a .337 average, 11 homers and 44 RBIs. "Hard breaking balls on his hands," said Alexander.
But is there anyway to pitch Durham? Acquired from St. Louis in exchange for reliever Bruce Sutter in a 1980 pre-Green deal, Durham had hit .290 in 1981 and .312 with 22 homers and 90 RBIs in 1982, but plummeted to .258 with 12 homers and 55 RBIs in 1983. The reason: He was injured three times. Frey returned Durham to his natural position at first base after he had spent three years in the outfield, and Durham has been stinging the ball to all fields with his long, vicious swing. Since switching from contacts to glasses after a 1-for-11 start, Durham hasn't gone more than a game without a hit. "He reminds me of a young Boog Powell," says Frey.
Stop Bull Durham? Well, Durham sent Alexander back to the drawing board. He reached base six times with two doubles, a single, two walks and an error as the Cubs won the Friday night fight 12-3.