SI Vault
 
BLOOD ON THE DODGER BLUE
Ron Fimrite
September 04, 1978
Division leaders they might be, but both the Dodgers and Phillies were in misery, especially that "happy family" in L.A.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 04, 1978

Blood On The Dodger Blue

Division leaders they might be, but both the Dodgers and Phillies were in misery, especially that "happy family" in L.A.

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

On Friday Sutton pitched and, ironically, the first ball hit was to Garvey, who flipped to Sutton for the out. Sutton went eight innings, leaving a 5-4 loser but getting off the hook when the Dodgers scored two in the last of the ninth. Garvey, who hit .250 for the week, helped bail Sutton out with a home run and three runs batted in.

The Dodgers, who had whipped the Phils seven straight times to that point, finally ran out of Garrison finishes on Saturday night, when, before 50,194, they lost 3-1 to Randy Lerch, a stringy, bearded lefthander, who held them to four hits. The win, said Lerch, was "the high point of my career, the biggest game I've ever pitched, no doubt about it." It was big, for it at least temporarily halted the Dodgers' strange dominance and it kept the Cubs, winners earlier in the day over the Reds, 2� games out of first. The loss was significant for the Dodgers, too. The Giants, who defeated the Expos 4-1 that afternoon, moved back again to within a game of the lead they relinquished only the previous week. Sunday the Phillies won in a breeze, 9-2, looking better than they have in weeks, while the Dodgers could only be thankful the Giants had split a doubleheader and were still a half game behind.

The four-game series drew 188,871 and brought the Dodgers' season attendance to 2,600,169 for 61 home dates. It seems certain now that, given the close pennant race, they will draw the three million spectators they missed by only 44,913 last year—the equivalent, by Dodger standards, of a good Thursday night crowd. The Phillies, who have attracted 2,186,163 in 64 dates, are not exactly repelling their sometimes acerbic audience.

"This has been a strange summer," said columnist-reliever McGraw. "The fans in Philadelphia haven't had a pennant winner since 1950. They expect a lot from us after what we've done the past two years and they've gotten frustrated. We know we should be playing better. Hopefully, we'll win it this time and then look back on a strange summer as an exciting summer."

Stranger things have happened.

1 2