Chicago Tribune - October 7, 1980

Playoff Preview


Houston vs. Philadelphia



Game 1 – Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. Chicago time, Houston at Philadelphia.

Game 2 – Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Chicago time, Houston at Philadelphia.

Game 3 – Friday, 2 p.m Chicago time, Philadelphia at Houston.

Game 4 (If necessary) – Saturday, 3:15 p.m. Chicago time, Philadelphia at Houston.

Game 5 (if necessary) – Sunday, 7 p.m. Chicago time, Philadelphia at Houston.

Television – WLS-TV, Channel 7. Radio WBBM, AM 780.





Starting lineup

Terry Puhl, rf, .283, 13 HRs

Enos Cabell, 3b, .276, 2 HRs

Joe Morgan, 2d, .242, 11 HRs

Jose Cruz, If, .302, 11 HRs

Cesar Cedeno, cf, .309, 10 HRs

Art Howe, 1b, .283, 9 HRs

Alan Ashby, c, .255, 3 HRs

Craig Reynolds, ss, .224, 3 HRs


Starting prtchers – Ken Forsch (12-13, 3.18 ERA), Joe Niekro (20-12, 3.55), Vern Ruhle (12-4, 2.39), Nolan Ryan (11-10, 3.35).


Relief pitchers – Joaquin Andujar (3-8, 3.91, 2 saves), Frank LaCorte (8-5, 2.83, 11), Gordon Pladson (0-4, 4.39, 0), Joe Sambito (8-4, 2.19, 17), Dave Smith (7-5, 1.93, 10).


Reserves – Catchers: Bruce Bochy (.182), Luis Pujols (.199). Infielders: Dave Bergman (.256), Rafael Landestoy (.247). Outfielders: Danny Heep (.276). Jeff Leonard (.214), Denny Walling (.299), Gary Woods (.365).


Manager – Bill Virdon.



Starting lineup

Pete Rose, 1b, .282, 1 HR

Bake McBride, rf, .309, 9 HRs

Mike Schmidt, 3b, .286, 48 HRs

Greg Luzinski. lf, .228, 19 HRs

Manny Trillo, 2b, .292, 7 HRs

Garry Maddox, cf, .259, 11 HRs

Larry Bowa, ss, .267, 2 HRs

Bob Boone, c, .229, 9 HRs


Starting pitchers – Steve Carlton (24-9, 2.34 ERA), Larry Christenson (5-1, 4.01), Dick Ruthven (17-10, 3.63), Bob Walk (11-7, 4.57).


Bullpen – Warren Brusstar (2-2, 3.69, 0 saves), Randy Lerch (4-14, 5.16, 0), Tug McGraw (5-4, 1.47, 20), Dickie Noles (1-4, 3.89, 6), Ron Reed (7-5, 4.15, 9), Kevin Saucier (7-3, 3.42, 0).


Reserves – Catcher: Keith Moreland (.314). Infielders: Ramon Aviles (.277), John Vukovich (.161). Outfielders: Greg Gross (.240), Lonnie Smith (.339), Del Unser (.264), George Vukovich (.224).


Manager – Dallas Green.


How they compare


Starting pitchers – Big edge to the Phils. The Astros are hurting. Ryan's back and Forsch's leg are sore, and Ruhle sliced his right index finger on a nail in a freak accident. Twenty-Game winner Niekro, who won Monday's division clincher, will be available onlv one game. The Phils got a big break by clinching the NL East Saturday because their super pitcher (Carlton) now will be able to start in the opener and pitch a second time if necessary. Ruthven is a steady performer for the Phillies but the jury still is out on Christenson, just back from an injury layoff.


Relief pitchers – Slight edge to the Phillies. The Phils have the hottest reliever in baseball in McGraw, who gave up only one run in 15 outings after Labor Day. But Houston has a potentially better 1-2 punch in the right-handed Smith and the left-handed Sambito, if the latter can return to his early-season form.


Attack – Slight edge to the Phils. The NL East champs have more power (Schmidt, Luzinski), which should prove to their advantage in the Games played in Philadelphia. And the Phils can match almost speed with the Astros (McBride, Maddox, and Bowa vs. Cedeno, Cruz, and Puhl) when it comes to winning in that cavernous Texas barn. The Astros, however, have the higher average hitters in the middle of their lineup. The key here will be the efforts of Luzinski and Rose. Luzinski, a season-slumping .228 hitter, can kill the Astros if he gets hot (or the Phils if he stays cold). Rose had a lousy September but still is one of the Game's great money players.


Defense – A tossup. The Astros have an edge in the outfield when Luzinski is in the Phils' lineup and when Unser replaces Maddox (who has been in the doghouse). But the Philadelphia infield is much more solid, because of Trillo and Schmidt, and because of the injury (leg) to the Astros' Morgan.


Bench – Small check mark for the Phils. Probable NL rookie of the year Smith and catcher Moreland would be regulars on most other teams; Unser is valuable at two positions; Gross is a fine defensive caddy for Luzinski. The Astros are not devoid of depth, however. They have quality reserves in Bergman, Walling, and Landestoy.


Managers – Slight edge to the Astros. Virdon is not Casey Stengel; he's 0-for-1 in playoffs and twice has been dumped in midstream (by the Pirates and the Yankees) because he was deemed too ascetic to lead in emotional situations. But Green, a rookie skipper, is not terribly imaginative and goes strictly by the "book." Sometimes the . book gets a little dogeared.

Phils seeking special status for kid pitcher


By Dave Nightingale, Chicago Tribune Press Service


PHILADELPHIA – The National League East champion Phillies seem to be trying to pull a "Mike Andrews" for the league playoffs, which open in Veterans Stadium Tuesday night.


But whether they can run the gambit past NL President Chub Feeney won't be known until Tuesday, after Feeney meets with Phils' General Manager Paul Owens and Manager Dallas Green.


The Phils have a rookie pitcher named Marty Bystrom, who just happened to be named NL Pitcher of the Month in September for his 5-0 record and 1.50 earned run average.


And Green is candid in his admission that Bystrom would be his team's No. 4 starter in postseason play – as he has been during the pennant drive.


But Bystrom, technically, is not eligible for the playoffs because he wasn't on the team's 25-man roster as of Aug. 31.


THE PHILLIES HAVE another pitcher named Nino Espinosa, whom they acquired from the Mets last year. Nino has had a sore shoulder for a year; has been used sparingly this season [76 innings, 3-5 record, 3.79 ERA] and hasn't pitched since Sept. 12.


The Phils have applied to Feeney to replace Espinosa on the roster – with Bystrom.


"We've tried to be honest with the league," said Owens. "Espinosa isn't really hurt. He's just been ineffective. He's had bursitis in his shoulder since last September. We've explained the whole thing to the league. We've given them medical reports."


During the 1973 World Series, Oakland Owner Charlie Finley tried to get second baseman Andrews to term himself "injured" so Finley could add Manny Trillo to the A's roster in Mike's stead. Andrews even signed a paper testifying to his injury [although he later claimed he signed under duress].


IT WAS NOT lost on Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, however, that the "injury" came on the heels of two errors by Andrews that cost the A's the second Series game. Kuhn disallowed the switch and ordered Andrews restored to the roster.


The Phils reportedly asked Espinosa to claim he was injured, but Nino refused. The club denies that allegation.


At any rate, the final makeup of the Phils' pitching staff for the first playoff game won't be known until after Tuesday's Feeney-Owens-Green meeting.


TWO THINGS are known:


•  Espinosa won't be on the 10-man pitching staff for postseason play.


•  Lefty Kevin Saucier will be on the staff.


Saucier was disabled on Sept. 1 and, thus, can be named to replace anyone currently on the roster. The Phils have publicly promised Saucier they will activate him.


The Phils would prefer to substitute Saucier for either Randy Lerch [4-14, 5.16 ERA] or Dickie Noles [1-4, 3.89], and hit hard in his last few outings. But they'll use Kevin to replace Espinosa if they can't sneak Bystrom past Feeney.


AS FOR THREE other Phils' regulars who have been off and on the bench lately for hitting and fielding misadventures:


•  Catcher Bob Boone [0-for-21 until he got a key hit last Friday in Montreal] definitely will start Tuesday night against the Astros because he's the regular catcher for Steve Carlton [24-9], the Phils' pitcher for the first game.


•  Greg Luzinski .229 average is rated a "probable" starter, on the strength of some hitting during the final week.


•  Center fielder Garry Maddox is a "questionable" starter. Maddox got into Green's doghouse Sept. 28 when he missed a line drive while not wearing sunglasses in a discouraging loss to Montreal. Maddox was invited to return to the lineup three days later, but declined because of a mysterious "sore little finger" on his left hand.


"Maddox?" said Green. "I won't reveal my starting lineup until the night of the game; I never have. And I'm not going to change now."