Wilmington Evening Journal - August 25, 1980

Green faces lineup problem


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Dallas Green should have been beaming. The Phillies had rapped out 14 hits, scored seven runs and averted a sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, who were 7-1 losers last night at Veterans Stadium.


Greg Luzinski was back, with a home run to boot. Mike Schmidt hit No. 35 to take the major-league lead. And Dick Ruthven threw a seven-hitter, featuring 19 groundouts to win his 12th game.


So why wasn't the Phillies' manager attacking his hoagie with unaccustomed vigor after the game? Probably because he has to make up the lineup card the next few games and leave off a .300 hitter.


"I'd hate to be making up the lineup card the next few days, said Pete Rose, who had three hits last night to come within one of Tris Speaker (3,515) for fourth place on the all-time hit parade. "It's nice to have Greg in the lineup, with his home-run potential, but Bake McBride's having a helluva year (.313, 74 RBI) and Lonnie Smith's probably gonna be Rookie of the Year. I'd hate to pick between 'em."


But Green has to. And he figures to go with the hot bat and in the case of both Bake and the Bull, the hot knee,


"My decision on who'll play will depend on who's pitching and who's hitting," said Green. "Right now Lonnie's hitting (.356, with three hits last night) and we'll try to work him in the lineup. Lonnie will play some center field, some right field and some left field."


As for Luzinski, who came off the disabled list when reliever Kevin Saucier rediscovered tendinitis in his left elbow and went on the 21-day disabled list before the game, Green said, "He'll play as much as we can get him in there and as much as his knees will let him."


McBride, who is playing on two bad knees, was rested last night.


"Bake's at the point where he needed a day off," said Green, who added that McBride could be back in the lineup tonight against Los Angeles lefty Jerry Reuss.


"Bake handles Reuss pretty decently, but I'll see how Bake is when we get going."


Rose had a suggestion.


"I wish we were playing softball," said Rose, who would probably own most of the records in that sport, too. "Then we'd be using a four-man outfield."


Green likes the idea.


"If I could get the extra guy in for short field, I'd do it," Green grinned. "Put that in instead of the DH."


So much for levity… or San Francisco starter Bob Knepper's longevity. Knepper lasted 3 innings, allowing six runs. The first four came in the third when Schmidt and Luzinski hit back-to-back homers for the fifth time this season.


The Phils added two more runs in the fourth in an inning that featured a premature timeout, two ejections, a poked eye, a slapped umpire and enough comedy to keep the 37,325 customers amused, since most of the scoring was finished.


Luzinski's homer, a towering shot to left one pitch after Schmidt's two-run shot had staked Ruthven to a 3-1 lead, gave Green "a little tingle." And the Bull liked the ovation from the crowd that ended only after he emerged from the dugout and waved to the fans.


"I've been traded about 30 times in the last month by sports writers and commentators on the radio," Luzinski shrugged. "It felt good to be back in. Whether he (Green) uses me in the outfield or as a pinch hitter, it just feels good to help out. Wherever I can help the ballclub, it's totally up to him."


And Luzinski has renewed visions of the torrid May when he and Schmidt went on a tear. Schmidt batted .305 with 12 homers and 29 RBI that month, while Luzinski's stats included a .312 average, 8 homers and 18 RBI.


"When I was healthy, we put a pretty good month together, said Luzinski. "If we do that again, we could give this team a lift."


The fans got a laugh from the 'ourth-inning "Punch and Pulli" show once the Phils took a 6-1 lead. It started when Rose drilled a shot to first that Mike Ivie gloved, stepped on first for the out and then fired to second, trying to double Smith.


Lonnie barreled into shortstop Johnnie LeMaster, thinking he had to break up a double play, Fortunately for Smith, he didn't overslide the base and was called safe by umpire Eric Gregg, who immediately signaled time out.


Smith looked up, saw Gregg's upstretched arm and, figuring he had been called out, jogged toward the Phils' dugout. Once he realized he was indeed safe, Smith sheepishly returned to second, igniting a Giant protest that resulted in a protested game.


"Where did he think Smith was going, to get a towel?" asked Giants Manager Dave Bristol. "Smith told our guy he thought he was forced, he thought he was out."


Gregg ruled he had called time out on his own, so the Giants' protestations seemed in vain. But pitching coach Don McMahon continued to bait home plate umpire Frank Pulli, who finally ejected McMahon, allegedly with a few choice cuss words.


Bristol rushed out, followed by McMahon, who was poked in the eye by Pulli during their jaw-to-jaw shouting match. When Bristol continued the debate, Pulli thumbed him, too. And while Bristol vehemently gestured, he inadvertently slapped Pulli in the face.


"Pulli called Don a (vulgar) name and I thought Don was going to choke him," said Bristol, who found everything else hard to swallow last night, too.


But if Bristol thinks he has things tough, think about poor Dallas Green, who may have to bench a .356 hitter, a home-run slugger or even the Secretary of Defense, Garry Maddox. All to make everybody happy.


"There'll probably be some hurt feelings," said Rose. "I'm just glad none of those guys are first basemen."


EXTRA INNINGS – Green conceded the loss of Saucier could force him to bring up a left-handed pitcher after Sept. 1. That would be Mark Davis, who leads the Eastern League with 18 wins and 181 strikeouts, more than any minor-league pitcher. Green earlier had said the Phils would not call up Davis... Knepper is 2-11 on the road, with both his victories coming over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium... Pete Rose tied Frank Robinson for ninth place on the all-time runs-scored list with 1,829 and Speaker for 10th on the games-played list with 2,789... Manny Trillo has hit in 11 straight games, one shy of the club high... Channel 17 has added three West Coast games to its schedule – Sept. 2 and 3 at San Francisco and Sept. 4 at Los Angeles, all beginning at 10 35 p.m.... Nino Espinosa vs. the Dodgers' Jerry Reuss (15-4) tonight at 7;35 as L.A. opens a three-game set.

… after solving Giant dilemma


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Dallas Green discovered a cure for premature hair loss yesterday before the Phillies defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-1. Vitalis is reportedly interested, but the Phils' manager can't bottle his remedy.


What Green did was discover a way to get Greg Luzinski back on the Phils' roster without releasing a veteran pitcher, optioning a promising youngster or yanking out his hair by the handfuls.


The solution came when left-handed reliever Kevin Saucier realized his left elbow was tender enough to go on the 21-day disabled list... and Saucier's feelings weren't too tender to become the sacrificial lamb Green needed.


"I was just about to start to pull out my hair," said Green, who knew Luzinski was champing at the bit, having been given the go-ahead to rejoin the club a week earlier. There was just one too many bodies in the way.


So Saucier's elbow was the unlucky joint. It was the same elbow that lasted five innings in Thursday's 17-inning marathon and another 1 innings Saturday night. But that, said Green, was the problem.


"A month ago Kevin had the same problem and we took away his breaking ball and told him to go with just the fastball and slider," Green said. "After the five innings he pitched the other day, plus backing it up Saturday, he admitted he still had some tenderness."


And the move was made.


"I didn't arrive at it," Green said. "It arrived for me. I told you I was definitely thinking of a pitcher and we were trying to exhaust all possibilities legally.


"Finally I called in the three or four guys who had arm problems in the past (Saucier, Nino Espinosa, Warren Brusstar and Larry Christenson) and we talked individually about the status of their arms. I found that Kevin still had the tenderness in his arm from the tendinitis he had a month ago."


So the Bull was back and a few veterans breathed a little easier. Dallas Green didn't have to send out for the axeman... or a bottle of hair restorer, either.