Syracuse Herald-Journal - October 8, 1980

Thar's A Big Bite In Phils' Clubhouse


By Joe Goddard, Chicago Times News Service


PHILADELPHIA — The green banner was too small for most of the playoff-record crowd of 65,277 to read without high-powered field glasses, but it had a meaningful message: "Green's Doghouse Boys Come Thru."


Did they ever!


Greg Luzinski hit a two-run home run that landed just below the sign, Garry Maddox scored the final run and Bob Boone called an excellent game for Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw as the Phillies beat the Houston Astros 3-1 Tuesday night in the first game of the National League playoffs. All but the pitchers had taken up residence in manager Dallas Green's hound house the last week of the regular season.


Luzinski had been in the fans' house all season. He didn't appreciate it, waving his hat derisively to them as he trotted out for pre-game introductions.


'Putting them on'


"I was putting them on, but (Larry) Bowa egged 'em on a helluva lot more than I did," said the left fielder, who had fragments removed from his left knee in late July and hit only 19 home runs.


Bowa's ill-will, hat-waving gesture that followed Luzinski's was no surprise. Last week, he called Phillie fans "the worst in baseball." Luzinski's, though, was a surprise. "I said in spring training the people here were frustrated when we finished fourth last year' he said. "They didn't like that. They've been on us since, and me in particular.


"I know there has been talk about me being traded, but right now I want to put it out of my mind. My only goal is to get us into the World Series."


His sixth-inning, two-out drive to left field on a full count off Ken Forsch was a good start toward the Series. It came with Pete Rose on base (leadoff single) and jolted the audience bolt upright in its seats.


Luzinski had fouled off three breaking balls before picking out a Forsch fastball that "may have been a ball. The next inning, the plate umpire (Bob Engel) told Boone the pitch was a foot inside."


Fifth playoff homer


It was Luzinski's fifth playoff homer in 12 games, one behind record-holder Steve Garvey. "I have no idea why I do well in the playoffs. I know I'm revved up for 'em.


"My bat is quicker now. During the long rain delay in Montreal (last Friday), I went into the batting cage under the stands and made some adjustments with my hands. I usually hold my bat straight up and down, but I was looping it a little bit. I also changed my approach to the ball, making it shorter and quicker.


"I had 19 homers this year. This was my 20th. I think all of them came with two strikes, so you know I have quickness."


Carlton, the 24-win Cy Young Award favorite, did not have quickness the first three innings, particularly with his famous slider. But he "made the pitches he needed to make," according to Boone, to strand seven Astros.


Houston scored in the third on singles by Jose Cruz off Carlton's body, Cesar Cedeho and (ex-Syracuse Chief) Gary Woods, but advanced only one runner as far as second the last six innings.


"If Lefty was talking to you guys/' McGraw told reporters after the game, "I'm sure he'd tell you the mound was soft tonight. It's always that way after football (Eagles) games. I know it's necessary to remove the mound and I'm not knocking it, but it takes a few days for it to settle back down."


Green went to McGraw, who has not allowed an earned run in his last 16 games (28 innings), in the eighth inning. "I thought Lefty was a little sluggish. I got the Chief (McGraw) down there in the bullpen, so why waste him?" Green said.


Maddox, who had not started last week after losing a fly ball in the sun in a big loss to the Expos nine days ago, assured the victory with a seventh-inning dash around the bases. He singled, went to second on a sacrifice, stole third and scored on pinch-hitter Greg Gross' looping single. "I've always had permission to steal if I think I have a good jump," Maddox said of his surprise theft.


The Astros kept their heads and attitudes up after the game, perhaps from being so tired from crossing three time zones to get here. Manager Bill Virdon said, "I hope I get back to the hotel before I fall asleep."


PLAYOFF NOTES — The Phillies did a hard sell on Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and National League President Chub Feeney, convincing them that Nino Espinosa threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in his last start (Sept. 12) with a lame shoulder. The Phillies were allowed to remove Espinosa and add rookie Marty Bystrom, the pitcher of the month for September (5-0 record, 1.50 earncdrun average). Chronic bursitis was the official reason.


"Convenient bursitis," said an Astro, who had yet to see Bystrom but had heard he was a potential star. Joe Morgan, who missed the playoff opener with a strained knee that required a shot Tuesday, was outspoken against it. "Rules were made to be followed. If he wasn't on the list Sept. 1 (Bystrom wasn't), he shouldn't be here. I don't care about him personally, but we haven't seen him before, it could be to their advantage."


Cesar Cedeno said, "Bystrom? Never heard of him." Bystrom, who had made the Phillies' spring training, but slipped on a concrete clubhouse floor in Florida and severely pulled a hamstring, said he would have returned to Miami had he not been eligible. "I feel I deserve to be here. I wouldn't have felt good about sticking around if this hadn't happened," he said.


The Astros will continue to use Nolan Ryan (Wednesday night starter) and Joe Niekro (Friday in Houston) with three days rest instead of four. Vern Ruhle will be given until Saturday (if Game 4 is necessary) to let an injured finger on his pitching hand heal. Ryan said of the added work. "I don't think in a short series like this it makes much difference."