Corpus Christi Caller - October 7, 1980
Phillie manager wanted Astros win
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA – Phillies' manager Dallas Green got his wish Monday when his East Division champions drew the Houston Astros as their West Division opponent in the best-of-five National League championship series which starts in Philadelphia Tuesday night.
Green's preference for Houston he said was based on two factors.
First, he said the Phillies beat the Astros 9-3 in their regular-season series. And secondly, Green said he would rather play in the Astrodome, where the home-run ball is a negligible factor compared to the Dodger Stadium shooting gallery.
Green also noted that playing indoors for as many as three games scheduled at the dome eliminated sun-and-shadow factors involved in an outdoor stadium for games starting at odd times because of television commitments.
During the regular season the Phillies won 5 of 6 from Houston in Philadelphia and 4 of 6 in Houston.
The Phillies will start Steve Carlton, 24-9 with a 2.34 earned run average in the opener. Houston manager Bill Virdon has announced he'll go with Ken Forsch, 12-13 and an ERA of 3.18. Forsch pitched the Astros within one out of the pennant last Friday before the Dodgers rallied to tie the game in the ninth inning and win it in the 10th.
The Phillies should be accorded an edge to win their first National League pennant since 1950, being a well-rested team with its pitching rotation in order as a result of closing out the East Division race against Montreal Saturday.
Houston, meanwhile, had to use its ace Joe Niekro in Monday's playoff game and No. 2 starter Vern Ruhle is questionable for the series because of a hand injury that forced him out of Sunday's game against Los Angeles.
That means that in this brief five-game championship series, Virdon can use Niekro only once, while Green has the luxury of twice pitching Carlton, who is 2-0 against the Astros this season and 28-9 lifetime.
In a comparison of the teams, the Phillies appear to have an edge in power, while the Astros utilize speed. Both have excellent defenses.
Philadelphia, however, has an advantage in playoff experience, appearing for the fourth time in the last five years. This is Houston's first championship in the 19-year history of the franchise.
The matchups give the Phillies an edge in the infield with veteran Pete Rose at first, sure-handed Manny Trillo and long-ranging Larry Bowa the second base-shortstop combination and five-time Gold Glove winner Mike Schmidt on third.
Rose is one of baseball's great clutch performers and a more than adequate defender at first base. He hit .282 with 185 hits, including a league-leading 42 doubles.
Trillo hit a respectable .292. There is no contest at third base where Schmidt led the league with 48 home runs and 121 RBI. Cabell is a .278 hitter and better than average on defense.
In the outfield, the teams appear more evenly matched with Bake McBride, Garry Maddox and Greg Luzinski for Philadelphia and Terry Puhl, Cesar Cedeno and Jose Cruz playing for Houston.
Behind the plate, the Phillies will probably go with veteran Bob Boone, despite his season-long slump and .229 batting average, partially the result of slow recovery from a knee operation in the off season. Houston goes mainly with Alan Ashby, a .256 hitter.