Camden Courier-Post - October 2, 1980
Vets keep Phils in hunt
Carlton flirts with no-hitter in beating Cubs
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies' 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs last night provided a platform for two veterans campaigning for post-season recognition. And, it provided a reprieve, of sorts, to two veterans campaigning for jobs next season.
Lefthander Steve Carlton, who seems destined to win his third Cy Young Award, and third baseman Mike Schmidt, who is a more serious candidate for MVP than John Anderson is for President, are the former. Bob Boone and Greg Luzinski form the latter pair.
Carlton came within one fastball and one oddball line drive of pitching the first no-hitter of his career. He pitched hitless ball through seven, walking only Carlos Lezcano with two out in the second, before allowing Mike Vail a leadoff single in the eighth on a 1-1 fastball.
HAVING GROWN accustomed to his no-hitters being broken up, Carlton was an out away from completing his seventh one-hitter. But a line drive off the bat of Bill Buckner tipped off the top of second baseman Manny Trillo's glove for a second single.
So Carlton had to settle for his 24th win of the season and 45th shutout of his career while reaching the total of 10 strikeouts for the 11th time this year.
The home run was Schmidt's 45th, tying a career high he set last year. It also represented his 116th RBI, matching another career high set in 1974. And, it gave Schmidt 100 runs, making it the fifth time in eight years he has produced at least 100 runs and 100 RBIs.
It was, however, equally significant that Manager Dallas Green got contributions from Luzinski and Boone, whom Green benched on Monday, an act that served as a match to the fuse of controversy.
HE TROUBLES THAT have swirled around the Phillies since then have served to shift the focus away from the pennant race. That is a shame because the Phillies are involved in a magnificent battle with Montreal that promises to go until the final day of the season.
What should be the most important news to fans – and the most vital issue among the players – is that a win over the Cubs tonight would put the Phils in a dead heat with the Expos, who stubbornly held on to their half-game lead in the National League East with another win over St. Louis.
A victory tonight would send the Phillies to Montreal needing to do no more than win two of three. It would set up a "winner take all" showdown between two teams that have had the talent and depth to survive the demands of a 162-game schedule.
Luzinski, who after sinking into a 2-for-21 quagmire watched rookie Lonnie Smith play left field, followed Schmidt's home run with one of his own. It was the sixth time this year – ninth in their careers – that Schmidt and Luzinski have hit back-to-back homers.
BOONE HAD BEEN similarly struggling, going 0-for-18, before Green replaced him at catcher with rookie Keith Moreland. But Boone stroked his first hit in eight days during the watershed sixth to set up a sacrifice fly by Carlton.
Well after 25,658 satisfied fans left Veterans Stadium, Boone and Luzinski fielded questions about their benching. Both properly declined the opportunity for public complaint.
Neither should be mistaken for the cartoon stereotype; the "aw, shucks, I'm just glad to be with the team" jock. Indeed, both would much prefer playing every day to swallowing their pride and watching the rookies perform.
But both seem to recognize that this team is pursuing a larger goal. A division championship is within its grasp. And, to paraphrase Green, reaching that goal should be the only thing on the minds of the 37 players who inhabit the club house.
BOONE IS an intelligent, articulate man painfully aware of his sorry statistics. He sidesteps the issue of his benching neatly:
"I just have to worry about catching and hitting the ball... I'll let him (Green) worry about all the decisions, whether to pinch hit, who to play. That's not my realm. I have no control over it so I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it."
Luzinski, who once railed against Green's "Gestapo tactics," now steadfastly refuses to second-guess his manager. "I never," said Luzinski, "thought there was any problem with me personally. I've said all along – said since I came off the disabled list that I would do whatever I could to contribute, whether that meant pinch hitting, or coming off the bench, or whatever."
So it was that the Phillies, despite all the conflict, matched stride with Montreal for the 11th straight day. Neither team has been more than a half -game ahead or behind the other since Sept. 20. That state of affairs promises to change.
PHIL UPS – Trillo said Buckner's line drive was "an easy ball to catch" and would've been happy to accept the error... "I think I played the ball good," Trillo said. "I went up (for the ball) with two hands and, when you go up for a ball with two hands, it means it's not that hard of a play."... Carlton has now pitched 304 innings, the second time in his career he has bettered 300... Bob Walk goes tonight against Randy Martz in final home game of season... Phils have drawn 2.6 million fans this season, an attendance figure second only to the Dodgers'.
Absence of Maddox adds more paranoia
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – Considering the past week at Veterans Stadium, it's no wonder the atmosphere in the Phillies' locker room resembles a psychiatrists' convention. You know, where one guy says, "Hello" and the other asks, "I wonder what he meant by that?"
A seminar based on the real-life experiences of centerfielder Garry Maddox entitled "Injured: Fingers Or Feelings?" consumed much of last night's program, even though lefthander Steve Carlton came within two feet and two inches of pitching a 5-0 no-hitter against the Cubs.
The two feet represented just how close centerfielder Del Unser came to catching the sinking line drive that Chicago's Mike Vail used to break up the no-hitter in the eighth inning.
The two inches represented just how high second baseman Manny Trillo needed to jump in the ninth inning to catch a "too easy" line drive that nicked the top of his glove before being declared something other than an error by the official scorer. But forget that!
The burning question in the latest chapter of "How the Phils Turn" was, since Maddox plays a much more shallow centerfield than the quite competent Unser, is it possible that Garry would have caught Vail's ball and made Carlton's 24th victory of the season something worth posting in the record-books?
No one will ever know because Garry wasn't in the lineup last night.
Well, he was in the lineup prior to the game.
But then he wasn't in the lineup because Manager Dallas Green was told the slick fielding outfielder couldn't play because he was injured. So, he wasn't. In the lineup, that is.
But then, Garry said be wasn't injured so badly that he couldn't have played some late inning defense if the manager had wanted him play.
Are you with me, Professor Freud? Fine. Just relax, look at these inkblots and tell me what you see.
Two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Garry Lee hurt the area between two fingers on his left hand while sliding into a base. When the Phils moved on to Chicago, Maddox informed Phils' Coach Bobby Wine that he was having trouble gripping the bat and might have trouble hitting. Wine passed the word along.
The manager, looking for extra defense in a ballpark (Wrigley Field) where even Pavloff 's dog could ring the home run bell, decided he'd use Maddox, anyway.
When Garry reinjured the hand while making a play in the Veterans Stadium outfield against Montreal this past Sunday, however, the situation had changed. Desperate for more offense, preen made several alterations to the starting lineup, including the replacement of Maddox with Unser. The hand had nothing to do with the decision.
In fact, he didn't think much about it until Tuesday, when Garry told the club medicos that his band was getting worse. X-rays were taken. They would later prove negative, although the medical report would include a description of the "contusions".
Green wrote the names Luzinski, Boone and Maddox into his lineup card last night. But, by the time it was changed, rumors were spreading throughout the ballpark that Garry had refused to take the field.
More than anything, the incident demonstrates just how much turmoil, suspicion and paranoia the past week has fostered upon the twitching, grumbling, battling Phillies.
"I was willing and able to play," said the besieged Maddox. "But, I felt I should let them know that I wasn't 100 per cent. I didn't think I could grip the bat properly. And, since Dallas has been trying to get more offense... well, I left the decision up to him.
"I'm sure if he had defense on his mind, he would have used me. But, a decision like that should rest on the shoulders of the manager. I'd have been out there without a second thought if he wanted to sacrifice my bat for defense."
Defense should have become a priority by the time Carlton rolled into i the eighth inning brandishing a five-run cushion and the kind of "stuff that was giving the hitless Cubs an inferiority complex.
Now, get this straight. Unser is a fine outfielder. He's been used on numerous occassions as a late-inning defensive replacement. Nothing here is intended to impune his ability.
An edge is an edge, however. And, Maddox' legs and glove are recognized as being superior to Del’s. Which brings us full turn. Was Green under the impression that Garry either couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't play at all?
At the outset of his post-game press conference, Green's explanation of Garry's absence was short and concise.
"He says he's hurt said Green. "He told Wino he couldn't play. He's got a bad finger. I know he's got a bad finger. He hurt it in Pittsburgh."
When someone asked, "In 1979?", Green tried hard not to grin.
"I didn't say that!" warned the manager. "That's ain't a bad line, though."
Later, when informed that Garry waited around after the game to ' explain to the press that he had told Wine of his inability to hold a bat correctly and his availability for defensive duty, the manager nodded.
"I'll buy that," he said. "I do want offense. And I didn't make the switch because Del is a capable outfielder. If that's the way Garry said it happened, then I agree.
"Call it a breakdown in communications."
With that, the manager flipped his Phillies wall calendar from the September picture of Garry Maddox to the October picture of Randy Lerch. I wonder what he meant by that?