Philadelphia Daily News - August 23, 1980
Dilemma Bulldozes Green
By Michael Knight
Of all the questions which face this great nation of ours – Who shot J.R.? Have Teddy and Jimmy really settled their differences? Will the Center City Commuter Tunnel ever be finished? – none is more pressing or agonizing to Dallas Green than this one:
What do I do with Greg Luzinski?
Or, perhaps more accurately, what don’t I do?
THE BULL, AS you may have heard, is eligible to come off the disabled list following surgery July 28 to remove cartilage from his right knee. But who does Green bump off the 25-man roster to make room for Luzinski's sizeable presence?
That is the mystery which continued to be the primary topic of discussion following last night's 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants at the Vet. Green says it's the toughest decision he's had to make since agreeing to replace Danny Ozark. He has 11 pitchers, too many for the playoffs and World Series, and probably one too many even for a tough September stretch run. He could option George Vukovich to the minors, which would make him ineligible for post-season play, but Dallas says he does not want to do that.
"We're gonna hurt somebody," Green admitted in his clubhouse office, anxiety lines showing in his face. "I want to make sure we've exhausted every possible avenue we can exhaust to get this thing settled.
"I would still prefer it to be a pitcher, because of the long-term thing. This decision has nothing to do, really, with getting Bull on (the active roster). It has to do with the future and the character and everything that goes on with this baseball team right now. This is a helluva decision.
"THERE ARE guys who have been busting their bleeps for a long time on this baseball team, and because of rules and regulations, it may involve one of those (them). But you've also got to think about what's going on in the playoffs and then the World Series, which is a DH series."
It wasn’t too many weeks ago when Luzinski told Stan Hochman that the manager should in effect, shut his mouth. Stop criticizing the players so much. Stop putting an air hose on the already highly pressurized atmosphere of the pennant chase.
Some cynics have wondered if Green would use this situation to keep Luzinski on hold, to keep him on the disabled list until Aug. 31 so he wouldn't have to eliminate someone from playoff eligibility, a move which could be viewed as "punishment" for those stinging quotes.
"It has nothing to do with me not wanting BulL" Green said firmly. "I want Bull. But I want it to be the best decision for, No. 1, the Phillies and. No. 2, the individuals involved."
One option would be to put someone – like the ailing Tug McGraw – on the disabled list. League rules state that a player must be on the active roster by Aug. 31 to be eligible for post-season play, but someone like McGraw, who was on the roster on opening day, could go on the DL now and still be eligible for the playoffs. The Pirates took advantage of that exception the other day and disabled Willie Stargell so he could rest his injured knee.
"I DON’T LIKE to use subterfuge and I'm not gonna use subterfuge," Green responded. "If we've got a guy that's hurt, he's hurt If he's not hurt, he's not hurt. It's that simple. We're still checking some legalities and things with the Commissioner's office that Paul (Owens) still wants to check at the last minute... to see if there's any loopholes. We've exhausted all the brainpower we've got in both rooms right now.
"It's gonna hurt a player bad this time of year," the manager repeated. "If this decision was to be made in April, May, June or July, it's not nearly as tough..."
The words seemed to hang in mid-air.
Which is exactly where the question which haunts Dallas Green more than any other will remain until somehow, someway, he finds a just answer.
Tiny Bobble, Giant Win
By Jay Greenberg
The. last droplet of wafer which rolled off the staked-down Phillies' foreheads last night was enough to drive them mad. They lost a game in a 10th inning in which the only ball that left the infield was thrown there.
It ruined not only Steve Carlton's proposed 20th victory, but Dallas Green's dinner. It looked like something featuring macaroni, but Green had covered it quickly like he was afraid it would spread.
"Kenny," bellowed the Phils' manager, to equipment manager Kenny Bush, "do we have anything else to eat?" There was no answer from Bush. And not many from Dallas either, because the San Francisco Giants' 4-3 victory at the Vet last night tasted just awful.
"We didn’t play very good defense tonight," said Green. "Defensively we can play with anybody in the league. A lot of people point to our infield as being the best in baseball. And at times they show you that."
THIS WAS ONE of the few times they did not. Carlton had just pitched himself out of the 10th by getting Jim Wohlford, batting with Bill North on second, to top the ball into the hole at short. Larry Bowa was there, but juggled just long enough so that he had to set himself a second time. Wohlford tied the throw to first and the Giants had the out back.
Mike Ivie topped a slider down the third-base line. Schmidt, playing deep for a pull hitter, barehanded the ball, threw off-balance, and 99 times out of 100 Ivie is out. This time, it bounced in front of Pete Rose's desperate stretch and went up over his shoulder.
"It's one of those plays I make 99 times out of a hundred," said Schmidt, after a 10-minute staring match with a dressing room table. "But we shouldn't have been in a position where I had to make that play."
"We can't score the run we need, so I have to make it. And this time I don't."
And Bowa makes his play 999 times out of a thousand and Steve Carlton never walks North to put the lead run on.
Percentages say the Phillies shouldn't lose that game last night, but lose it they did, and that didn't help them in the NL East standings. The Pirates and Expos both won and the Phillies dropped back to third place, 2 games behind Pittsburgh. One hundred and sixty-two games will devise some complex tortures, but this one would have made any All-Insidious team.
"IT’S A TOUGH play," said Rose. "He's playing back and has to come a long way and can't get anything on the throw. If the runner is on second l can get out and block it, but with the guy on third I have to try to catch it clean. Damn thing almost bounced up as high as my shoulder."
Bowa's slightest of bobbles was almost invisible to the naked eye, but it was enough to get Wohlford to first. That, obviously, was the play that should have been made, not Schmidt's, but when Mike struck out leading off the bottom of the 10th, the fans had an easier target walking back to the dugout.
Manny Trillo singled with two men out, but Bob Boone popped out. Carlton's 20th victory party became only so much macaroni and his seventh loss.
"Except for the pitch to the pitcher which the guy hit out, I thought he pitched a super game," said Green. "He doesn't give up that run in the first inning if we make all the plays."
Schmidt's first-inning error scored Wohlford, who had tripled home Bill North, but Lefty was fully accountable for the fastball he threw to Tom Griffin in the fifth inning.
"When he got behind like, that," said Griffin, who relieved starter Ed Whitson, "all I said was, 'Give me that fastball.'" Pete Rose's first-inning sizzler to the shins had sent Whitson hopping to Methodist Hospital for X-rays, and Griffin to the plate in the fifth, trying to wait out a pitch he could hit.
GRIFFIN ALREADY HAD eight career homers, but none had been off Carlton sliders. The fastball he could handle. It disappeared into the left-field backdrop and the Phils, who had tied the game on Schmidt's RBI double and with the help of a dropped fly ball by Wohlford, were behind again, 3-2.
Manny Trillo, hitting his fourth home run in eight games, got that one back in the sixth, but that was only enough to force extra innings.
The Phils got the leadoff man on in both the seventh and eighth off Greg Minton. Lonnie Smith singled but was thrown out stealing and Bake McBride, who had singled and was sacrificed, died at second when Gary Maddox struck out and Bob Boone popped up.
The leadoff guy in the ninth was Carlton. "It was his game," said Green. "It's a cool night and he's going good. I wasn't worried about him."
Carlton allowed 10 hits and struck out 13. No. 5. a unanimous fourth-inning decision over Ivie, put Lefty at 2,900 for his career, making him only the sixth pitcher in history to reach that figure.
It takes a large ovation to break that steel-eyed concentration, but the 38,837 did it, causing Carlton to turn around and look at the scoreboard to see what all the noise was about.
He immediately rolled the ball out of play, doffed his cap briefly and cut the swelling ovation short with the next pitch.
"He reminds me a lot of Guidry," said Wohlford, who faced the Yankee ace in the American League. "Guidry may throw harder, but Carlton has the better slider. The guy is a helluva pitcher. We needed some help to beat him tonight."
PHILUPS: It was the 10th time this season that Steve Carlton has reached double figures in strikeouts and the 42d time of his career... Others in the 2,900 strikeout club are Walter Johnson, Gaylord Perry, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Seaver... Lonnie Smith extended his hitting streak to 12 games, matching the club high for the season... Ed Whitson's X-rays proved negative... Allen Ripley pitches against Larry Christenson tonight. Bob Knepper goes against Dick Ruthven tomorrow night... The Phils are 6-7 in extra-inning games.
5 Winners In Contest
Elizabeth Robinson of Philadelphia won $10 plus four tickets to a Phillies game on a single by Steve Carlton in the third inning of the Daily News Home Payoff contest.
Winners of four tickets each were Frank Deutsch of Allentown, Pat Calandro, John McGettigan and Wallace Thomas, all of Philadelphia.
To date, the Daily News has paid out $16,320.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 31.