Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois on October 4, 1984 · Page 25
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Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois · Page 25

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Decatur, Illinois
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Thursday, October 4, 1984
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Herald & Review Sports. Decatur, Illinois, Thursday, October 4, 1984 Section C I By MARK TUPPER " MaraM 4 Rvtw Aiiociatt Spam Editw CHICAGO They used to point to his sloppy work habits, his lack of concentration, his mechanical flaws. They called him a flake, an underachieves a bust. As a major league baseball pitcher. Steve Trout was an ugly duckling. A few eyes were able to look beyond the aches of Trout's athletic adolescence. People like Dallas Green and Billy Connors were able to see a sign of beauty in this beast. Wednesday, the believers got their reward. Trout pitched 8 13 strong innings to lead the Chicago Cubs past the San Diego Padres 4-2. The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the National League championship series. On Wednesday, the ugly duckling became a swan. As a result, the series could end tonight in San Diego (game time 7: 35 CDT). If the Cubs don't get that one victory they need to get into their first World Series since 1945 tonight, they have chances again Saturday and Sunday in the Padres' park. ' - "Anything can happen but we're hoping to close it out Thursday night," said Bob Dernier, whose base-running figured in two of the Cubs' runs Wednesday. No team in the National League has come back from a two-game deficit to win a pennant although Milwaukee did it in 1982 to defeat California in the American League playoffs. The Padres are in this precarious position thanks to two very different Cubs' victories. Tuesday the Cubs used a power display of five home runs to destroy the Padres 13-0. Wednesday the Cubs relied on aggressive base running and the pitching of Trout. "Trout has excellent action on the ball and today he had them beating it into the ground," Cubs' Manager Jim Frey said of the left-hander's 17 outs attributed to ground balls. "When he throws strikes he can get outs as well as anyone in the league. He has improved greatly." Trout looked like any other pitcher about to waste his potential when the Chicago White Sox sent him and Warren Brusstar to the Cubs prior to the 1983 season. Cubs' General Manager Dallas Green said at the time he had faith in Trout's ability to mature into a top-rate starter. The Sox gave up on Trout, after he had consecutive seasons of 6-9, 8-7 and 9-16 prior to unloading him as excess baggage. "Everyone said if he could learn to corral his stuff he could be one hell of a pitcher," Cubs' Manager Jim Frey said. Trouble was, no one seemed to be able to control Trout's treasure chest of talent. Connors, the Cubs' pitching coach, turned out to be that man. "Billy Connors has made me into a pitcher," Trout said as a crush of media representatives packed around his locker. "Having him with me all this season has helped tremendously. It's hard to be a good pitcher when you don't know the basics about pitching. And I didn't until I met Billy. "I've had other pitching coaches and they were good for other pitchers. But they weren't good for me. Billy is the one. He has me feeling comfortable on the mound, loose and relaxed. "Despite what some people say, I've always had the dedication. But I haven't had the knowledge of how to pitch properly. Billy has given me that." Trout was not overpowering; that's not his style. He let the Cubs play defense behind him and they did so magnificently. Double plays in the third and eighth innings helped. And Leon Durham's leaping grab of Steve Garvey's high hopper headed for extra bases with a runner on second eased the tension of a tough situation in the fourth. But much of the time Trout simply breezed. He threw four pitches in the third inning, 19 in the first three innings. He retired the Padres on seven pitches in the seventh. Cubs' shortstop Larry Bowa had seven assists on ground outs. Imside... Tigers go up 2-0 Page C 4 Van Pelt ends holdout Page C 5 Two different games Page C 6 Umps remain on strike Page C 7 Ueberroth gets $475,000 Page C 8 Billy Goodman dies Page C 9 Meanwhile, the Cubs used speed and daring base running to give Trout a lead. Dernier opened the first with a single to left and raced all the way to third when Sandberg grounded out to third baseman Luis Salazar. It was a non-stop base-running dare by Dernier and he slid in safely ahead of Steve Garvey's return throw from first. "We know Garvey doesn't have a great arm and I'm going to make him throw me out in that situation," said Dernier, who then scored on Gary Matthews' forceout. The Cubs scored twice in the third. Keith Moreland singled and Ron Cey ripped a drive to the wall in left center. Moreland was waved to the plate by Don Zim-mer, the third base coach. The relay throw from shortstop Garry Templeton short-hopped catcher Terry Kennedy and skipped away. Moreland was safe and Cey took third on the play. Jody Davis' sacrifice fly made it 3-0. The Padres scored for the first time in the series in the fourth when Tony Gwynn doubled, took third when Durham robbed Garvey, and scored on Craig McRey-nolds' sacrifice fly. Ryne Sandberg's double scored Dernier in the fourth. The Padres got one home in the sixth on Garvey's run-scoring single. Four runs was enough for Trout, who also found piece of mind before this season with the birth of his first child, daughter Taytum Ashley. Also in the off-season, Trout began studying yoga, something he practices one hour before each pitching performance. Combining the pitching education he has received from Connors with the steadying influences in his. personal life, Trout has evolved into jewel on the mound. Some people were second-guessing Frey when he said Trout would start behind Sutcliffe in this series. The doubters remember the ugly duckling instead of the swan. W(BBp OS 9& hmmdl CHICAGO Beat it. Goose Gos-sage. Go home. You're not going to get a chance to spoil things for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs avoided facing the fearsome San Diego Padres relief pitcher by winning the Wrigley Field portion of the National League championship playoff 13-0 and 4-2. Each time the Cubs broke on top and stayed ahead, keeping Gossage under wraps. Gossage pitches only when the Padres are leading in the eighth inning or ninth inning. Now the best-of-five series shifts to southern California. The Cubs need one victory to leap into the World Series for the first time since 1945. It happens tonight. The Cubs will once more take an early lead and neutralize Gossage. Yes, I predicted the Cubs would win in four games. Four is one too many. The magic number is one. The sweep is at hand. The Goose is cooked. Believe this: The Cubs are unbeatable. Dick Williams, the Padres' manager, admits: "The Cubs are doing everything right." Included in "everything" is hitting, pitching, fielding, baserunning. You name it, the Cubs do it with excellence. The Cubs are batting .358. the Padres are batting .183. The Cubs' pitchers have a 1.00 earned run average, the Padres' pitchers have a 9.00 earned run average. When the Cubs need a diving catch or a double play, somebody gets same. Furthermore, the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers are the only team in 15 years of the league playoffs to win after trailing 0-2. The obvious conclusion: The Padres are doomed. The last sweep in the National League playoffs was by the St. Louis Cardinals over the Atlanta Braves in 1982. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series. Move over, St. Louis. Make way for the Cubs. The Cubs and Padres split in regular-season play, each winning six times. So it would seem the teams are evenly matched. Instead it's a mismatcn. Statistics are often meaningless. This time the statistics accurately detail the vast difference between East and West. The best evidence that this is the Cubs' time was provided by Steve Trout Wednesday. He pitched a five-hitter in a "must" situation if the Bob Fallstrom Commentary Cubs had lost, they would have had the pressure of winning two of the three games in San Diego. Needing only one victory in San Diego is far more comforting. Not many Cubs' fans would have predicted Trout's turnabout. He was considered too dumb, too flakey to become a skilled pitcher one who wins with cunning and savvy. With a 13-7 record and now a playoff scalp in hand, he's a "comeback of the year" candidate. Trout's transformation into a Rick Sutcliffe-type stopper gives General Manager Dallas Green the last laugh in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs also got pitcher Warren Brusstar in the January 1983 swap. The Sox got pitchers Randy Martz and Dick Tidrow and infielders Pat Tabler and Scott Fletcher. Brusstar is now a long reliever for the Cubs. Martz and Tidrow and Tabler are no longer with the Sox. Fletcher is a semi-regular. At the time, the consensus was that Green was robbed. Look at how it has turned out. Look at how all of the Cubs' moves have turned out. There's no stopping the Cubs, folks. Go home, Goose. You're not needed. ei mm mm a v . man w m m m w. wm Ulla II it n 1 1 1 l 1 1 I I III LUUUU iiu But next week feast your eyes on the '85 Toyotas! Reserve yours now, at your Toyota dealer! lilillHi )?. -4 ,'V"HJ ?mm . Jet fJ f " ?5v . .v, -y -it- ,c.v ( " w yf v"set 'f--' , - stifiK , ' j- AP Laserphoto Steve Garvey is out in fourth inning as Leon Durham crosses first. Steve Trout is at right. 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