Philadelphia Inquirer - August 13, 1980

It wouldn’t have been complete without a protest


By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer


CHICAGO – Last year, the Phillies and Cubs played a game in which the score was 23-22. This year they played one in which the time of game was 23:22, or pretty close to that.


The game – which the Phillies eventually won in 15 innings, 8-5 – started Monday. It ended yesterday. That was pretty confusing in itself. But when it really got confusing was when the Cubs changed their roster right in the middle of it.


You can't do that in normal games. But crazy rules apply when games are started one day and resumed the next. And the Phillies thought that one of those rules was so crazy that they protested the game over it.


The protest occurred in the bottom of the 15th inning, when the Cubs sent up their forgotten slugger, one David Kingman, to pinch hit. The only thing wrong with that was that the Cubs had just removed Kingman from the disabled list that morning, before the suspended game resumed And the guy he replaced on the roster, Jim Tracy, already had been in and out of the game.


There is a rule that covers this. And Dallas Green had read it. The rule is pretty specific. It reads: "Any player who was not with a club when the game was suspended may be used as a substitute, even if he had taken the place of a player no longer with the club who would not have been eligible because he had been removed from the lineup before the game was suspended."


Green agreed later that the rule seemed to permit the Cubs to do what they had done. The reason he protested, he said, was that "I just feel it needs clarification in this case."


“The guy he was taking the place of had actually participated in the game yesterday," the manager said. "So it was our feeling that they were actually playing with 26 men."


Since his team won, Green agreed to drop the protest. But he still wants the league to explain to him why the rule should have applied in this case.


"I don't think it should," he said. "Suspended games usually aren't played the next day. Most of the time they're played at a later date, and that allows for some mobility in case of injuries or something like that. I just want a clarification from the league office, that's all."


NOTES: Warren Brusstar (1-0) was the winning pitcher in the suspended game, Brusstar's first victory since July 3, 1979. Brusstar pitched two shutout innings and struck out Lenny Randle on a slider for the final out. "It's just a matter of getting my control now," Brusstar said, "because I can't throw any harder than I've been throwing the last five or six days." Brusstar says he has regained a lot of strength, and every time he throws he feels a little less stiff.... Steve Carlton struck out five hitters yesterday, giving him 200 for the year. It is the sixth time in Carlton's career he has fanned 200 in a season.... There is no timetable for Greg Luzinski's return. But Luzinskil has been working out lightly on the trip. And Green said trainer Don Seger "has been encouraged at some of the things he has been able to do. At least we're getting him in a uniform now and getting him out on the field, so that's encouraging, too."... Chicago pitcher Mike Krukow hit his second career home run yesterday. Both are off Phillies. His first off Rawly Eastwick on June 27, 1979 eventually precipitated Kevin Saucier's first lifetime big-league brawl.... Dick Ruthven vs. Rick Reuschel today.

Phils win, win again over Cubs


By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer


CHICAGO – Even as the Phillies were hurtling into the final hours of their Pittsburgh death throes, Mike Schmidt knew that better times were ahead. Better times are always ahead when your next stop is Wrigley Field.


No problem is too enormous that the Cubs (3-8 on their present homestand) can't cure it. And no Mike Schmidt offensive-iceberg routine can't be defrosted when there is Wrigley Field on his horizon.


Suddenly on Monday, there was Schmidt back in his short, quick, patient May stroke again. Wrists lashing. Body uncoiling. Home run soaring into the bleachers in right-center. Line drive to center. Shot down the line.


And yesterday, there he was again. Two-run triple boring through the gales onto the track in right-center as the Phils were pulling out the continuation of Monday's suspended game in the 15th, 8-5.


Bases-empty homer knifing through the breezes as they came on to win the regularly scheduled game for Steve Carlton, 5-2.


In two days at his favorite Stroke Hospital, Schmidt is 6-for-10, with five RBIs, two homers and two walks.


You just know it


"Some places you play, you just know you're going to hit," said Phillies batting coach Billy DeMars. "I don't know why that happens, but it does. He just hits super here.


"You watched him today, and he was just the way he should be – very short, quick stroke. When he's going bad, he pulls off first, then he swings the bat. When he's swinging right there, the arms and hands stay back, and you get the fast, quick stroke."


When he is swinging right, he is lashing those rockets to right field and right-center. And he has done that, suddenly, in Chicago. A home run the other way Monday. A triple yesterday that normally would have been out of the park. These were the final signs that the official Mike Schmidt stroke of destruction was back.


"Hey, my wife," said Schmidt, "could probably tell you that."


Who knows how long this siege will last? Who knows where the Phillies might be had he come out of his one-for-August swoon a few days sooner, while Sweeps Weekend in Pittsburgh was still salvageable?


Grateful manager


"I'll tell you, I really don't care when he comes out of it," said Dallas Green, "so long as he comes out of it."


Without Schmidt bombing, the Phillies offense is a, nonstop scuffle for a Lonnie Smith run here, a Bake McBride run there. With Schmidt, there are quick twos and threes on the board where once there were zeroes. So Green's policy is, begrudge him the reality that he can't do it 162 games a year. And just enjoy it when you can.


"He just means so much to our offense," Green said. "I'm not a guy who wants to sit on his butt waiting for Schmitty to hit a home run. But damn, everything is sure a lot easier when he does hit one."


Schmidt hardly got a chance to help the Phillies in the first game yesterday, Act Two of The Game That Wouldn't End. And they needed help. They had the leadoff man on in the 11th, 13th and 14th and couldn't score.


Schmidt was walked intentionally by Bruce Sutter in the 11th, then walked on four pitches by South Philly's own George Riley in the 14th. Heck, the Cubs ought to be on to his Wrigley Field act by now, at least a little.


But in the 15th, the fifth inning of the day, Schmidt got his chance. Larry Bowa's windblown leadoff single, a bunt, a ground ball, an intentional walk and Bake McBride's game-winning RBI single put the Phils ahead, 6-5. Then Schmidt bashed a 370-foot, against-the-wind rocket to right-center for the two-run triple that put it away.


Then, before Schmidt stepped in, the second game was four innings of 0-0 dueling between Carlton and Cubs starter Mike Krukow. Give an assist to a 14 m.p.h. wind that conveniently gushed straight inward.


But finally in the fifth, it was time for the daily Schmidt suborbital shot, wind or no wind. And there were two interesting things to consider about this one.


The first was how far it would have gone – or, more precisely, what midwestern state it would have landed in – had the wind been blowing out. The second was whether he had any business getting another swing off Krukow, since it was very likely that he had already struck out.


Schmidt went semi-around on Krukow's 1-2 pitch, a ball just low and away. Catcher Barry Foote thought he swung. Krukow thought he swung. Even home-plate ump Ed Vargo wasn't sure, so he asked first-base colleague Satch Davidson.


Davidson not only indicated that Schmidt hadn't swung, he acted out the alleged non-swing in slow motion. Marcel Marceau couldn't have done it better.


"Never saw it," said Schmidt. "I was too busy saying a little prayer."


Two pitches later, Schmidt cranked a high fastball off the top of the screen in left. It was a remarkable shot on what was not a Home Run Derby day.


"It wasn't that difficult to get it out of here if you hit a ball on the nose," Schmidt said. "Fly balls weren't going out, that's all."


What that homer proved, Schmidt said, is that "I'd get my share whether the wind was blowing out or not if I played in this ballpark." But then, what kind of state secret is that?


The guy has hit 27 homers here in his life, five this year and 10 in the last two seasons. The Cubs can throw Willie Hernandez out there or Bruce Sutter. They could bring back Cal Koonce or Glen Hobbie. It wouldn't matter. The 10 homers since 79 have come off seven different pitchers.


But it took more than that Schmidt homer to get Carlton his 18th win. It took a three-run Phillies eighth that broke a 2-2 tie.


The Cubs had evened the game with a two-run sixth that included a Krukow homer. But Bob Boone led off the eighth with a line drive that barely sneaked over the yellow home-run line that runs along the screen in left.


"They're the kind of balls the wind doesn't affect," said Boone, whose last previous hit was Friday in Pittsburgh. "Heck, I knew I'd hit a ball hard someday."


After that, a Pete Rose single, a McBride triple that really ate through the wind and a sizzled RBI single by Schmidt made it 5-2. Carlton closed it out routinely. And what did you know – the Phillies had won more games in one afternoon in Chicago than they had won since September in Pittsburgh.