Camden Courier-Post - April 23, 1980
Rookies lift Phils over Mets
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – One of the more significant differences between Dallas Green and Danny Ozark, Phillies managers present and past, lies in their attitude toward youth.
Rookies were rare under the regime of Ozark, who made it policy to use them as merely dugout window dressing. Ozark would've preferred debating William F. Buckley before the Philadelphia press to putting a rookie in his lineup. Unless, of course, it was the home opener of the 1979 season and the rookie was a nervous kid named Lonnie Smith.
Green, on the other hand, departed sharply from Ozark's veteran philosophy by keeping such youngsters as Scott Munninghoff, Luis Aguayo and George Vukovich. Together with Smith, Keith Moreland, Dickie Noles and Kevin Saucier – all of whom played at least some time last year because of injuries to veterans – they form the nucleus of the Phillies' future.
THE FUTURE, however, was now last night. Green's garden of youth contributed in a large part to the club's come-from-behind 14-8 victory over the New York Mets before 21,341 stunned fans in Veterans Stadium.
Moreland, a catcher who cost Dave Rader his job as Bob Boone's backup, provided the decisive blow with a pinch-hit two-run double off the left field wall with one out in the eighth inning. Vukovich rapped a pinch triple to center field for his first major league hit, scoring the Phils' third run on a Pete Rose sacrifice fly.
That wasn't all. Munninghoff kept the club within striking distance after the Mets took a 6-2 advantage in the second. The righthanded reliever also tripled in his first major league at-bat, scoring on a Bake McBride single to cut the Mets' lead to 8-5 in the fifth. Saucier picked up the victory with three shutout innings of relief and Aguayo, playing second in place of the injured Manny Trillo, teamed with shortstop Larry Bowa to turn in some dazzling defensive play.
"DON’T," GREEN sighed when it was over, "ask me what happened because I don't know what happened. Saucier did a helluva job tonight. And Luis... Luis was in that big inning all the way, got a hit, scored from first, got that double play..."
Saucier relieved Munninghoff in the sixth after the Phils had already returned from an 8-3 deficit to tie the score in the fifth. The lefthander gave up a leadoff single to Lee Mazzilli, then walked Joel Youngblood. And, after both runners advanced on Steve Henderson's ground ball, Saucier intentionally walked Jerry Morales in hopes of inducing Elliott Maddox, a righthander, into hitting a double play grounder.
Instead, Maddox ripped a line drive that Aguayo snared before outrunning Youngblood to second, completing a watershed unassisted double play. Saucier cruised the rest of the way before Noles took over in the ninth.
"WE'VE BEEN putting some runs on the board," said left fielder Greg Luzinski, whose three-run homer in the fifth tied the game. "We felt we were going to hit the guy (Mets starter Tom Hausman), and we did. But the big play in the game was the line drive double play. That turned it around."
The play saved at least three runs and gave the Phils a chance to produce a six-run eighth and beat the Mets by the margin of a touchdown. Bowa, who made three superb plays behind second base one of them a diving stop to turn hits into outs, started the rally with a one-out single to center off reliever Kevin Kobel. Aguayo followed with a base bit to left and both runners scored on Moreland's decisive double, which came in his second at-bat of the season.
More, however, was to come. John Pacella, a righthander whose fastball is like lightning – no one has any idea where it's going to strike – replaced Kobel and promptly walked Pete Rose. McBride fanned, but Garry Maddox walked to load the bases.
MIKE SCHMIDT, who had already rapped a two-run homer in the first, followed by sending a 2-1 pitch into the executive boxes of the upper deck in left field for his fourth career grand slam.
Schmidt's grand slam not only put the finishing touches on an important win, it served to demonstrate that youth and experience can, indeed, be successfully blended.
PHIL UPS - Dick Ruthven started and gave up six runs in 1 innings... "I feel sorry for Dick. I can't get him started and he just didn't throw well today," said Green. "We've looked at films as far back as 1977 and we don't see anything mechanically wrong with him. He just is not throwing the ball. He claims that there's no arm problems, no stiffness, no back problems, nothing that we can pinpoint as being a problem."
Bats of Schmidt, Luzinski booming
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – They are about as different as two athletes can be. There is Mike Schmidt, the thinking man's player, the cool, dispassionate professional. .Schmidt is naturally gifted, one of those rare individuals who seems perfectly suited to his sport.
And there is Greg Luzinski, the Bull, a linebacker disguised as a baseball player. Luzinski's success has come as much "from dedication as any physical gifts nature may have bestowed upon him.
Together they give the Phillies one of the most devastating one-two power punches in the game.
Last night the two put on a truly awesome long-ball display, turning Veterans Stadium into their own private shooting gallery. Schmidt blasted two towering home runs – one of them a grand slam – to the upper deck in left field. Luzinski orbited a satellite that could have passed for a tardy piece of Skylab when it finally came to rest over the center field fence.
Certainly, others contributed to the "Phillies' storybook 14-8 victory over the New York Mets. But it was Schmidt who provided the punctuation, opening the script with a two-run shot in the first ginning and emphatically closing it with, his fourth career grand slam in the eighth. And, it was Luzinski who gave it high drama, capping a comeback with a three-run shot that tied the score, 8-8, in the fifth.
“Greg's hit was the big one," said Schmidt "That's the one that put the game under control for us."
The Phillies had been behind by scores of 6-2 and 8-3 before Luzinski began the difficult climb back into contention with a one-out single in the fourth. The slimmed-down Bull took third on Bob Boone's double to left and scored on a sacrifice fly by Larry Bowa.
That set the stage for his homer in the fifth. The inning began with New York starter Tom Hausman, a survivor to that point, allowing pinch-hitter George Vukovich a triple to dead center. It was Vukovich's first major league hit and, ironically, followed a triple in the third by reliever Scott Munninghoff in his first major league at-bat.
A walk to Pete Rose and an RBI single by Bake McBride finished Hausman, New York Manager Joe Torre bringing righthander Jeff Reardon in from the bullpen. Reardon got Garry Maddox on a fly ball to center and popped up Schmidt. He threw three pitches without incident to Luzinski. The fourth was launched to center field, landing some 430 feet away as Luzinski's fourth home run of the season.
"It was a fast ball, down and in," the Bull recalled. "I saw it good and I attacked it. The ball was carrying pretty decent, but when I hit it there was no doubt in my mind.
"I crushed that ball."
Such statements are rare for Luzinski, who has never enjoyed talking about his own accomplishments. Schmidt, however, was more than willing to discuss the merits of Luzinski's hitting.
"It looks like he's going to be the key to the ballclub as far as I'm concerned," Schmidt said. "A guy who can get the big hit like he does tonight, with two outs to straight-away center, well, that's disciplined hitting. You got to be a ballplayer to realize how good that hitting was. I got the same pitch and popped it up."
Nevertheless, Schmidt seems on the verge of settling into one of his grooves. After going hitless in his three previous games, he added a single to his two homers to raise his average from .270 to .309. His four home runs this month match his April totals of 1978 and 1979, and the six runs he drove in gave him 12 RBIs in 10 games.
"I'm not on the breaking ball the way I'd like to be," said Schmidt. "When I'm hitting good, I hit the breaking ball good. I don't want to dwell on the negatives in the ballgame, but I left some men on base tonight (when he popped up prior to Luzinski's homer)."
Luzinski, too, is blazing. Traditionally a hot weather hitter, the Bull is hitting a sizzling .325 with 13 hits, four home runs and 10 RBIs. That compares more than favorably to his .290, 18, four and 16 totals of last April, the beginning of his summer of anguish.
Schmidt was asked if, perhaps, the difference between the two teams last night was that the Phillies have two players capable of driving in nine runs and the Mets do not.
"Well, if you want to call that the difference," he shrugged. "I guess tonight it might have wound up being the difference."
And, there's a good chance it will wind up being the difference on more than a few nights to come.