Philadelphia Daily News - April 19, 1980
Expos Sprint Past Phillies
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL When Dick Ruth-ven works from a stretch position he bobs his head just before going into his delivery. And once the righthander bobs that head he always goes to the plate.
For an aware baserunner it is like a track pistol going off.
The Expos' 4 X 90 relay team – Ron LeFlore, Cool Breeze Scott, Andre Dawson and Ellis Valentine – burned Ruthven for four stolen bases yesterday during a 7-5 sprint past the Phillies. Pinch-runner Tony Bernazard added a fifth steal against reliever Kevin Saucier during a five-run fifth-inning explosion which erased a 4-2 Phillies lead and canceled out back-to-back homers in the top of the inning by Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
THE EXPOS HAD the bases stolen so cleanly on Ruthven's deliberate, head-bobbing motion that Bob Boone had no chance to throw anybody out. But the catcher added to Dick's frustration and confusion by bouncing three throws into center. The three errors were one short of the modern major league record shared by several early 1900 receivers.
Ruthven turned the first shovelfuls of dirt from his eventual grave by hitting LeFlore to lead off the fifth. Head bob... Zip. LeFlore stole second and went to third when Ruthven clattered a wild pitch off the backstop. He walked Dawson with one out and Dallas Green ambled to the mound.
"I never had any intention of taking him out," the manager said. "I felt he was showing his frustration over what was going on on the bases. I told him to quit worrying about the runners and start taking it one hitter at a time, don't let this build to a big inning."
Green shook his head wryly. "He heeded that advice very nicely," Big D said.
Valentine popped up for the second out and Ruthven looked like he was going to wade out of the raging waters. But Larry Parrish ripped an RBI single and the big inning Green wanted to avoid became a reality when Garry Carter ripped a three-run homer to left.
SAUCIER CAME IN to face left-handed hitter Warren Cromariie. The first baseman ripped a gappcr to right center and the Phillies appeared to catch a break when Cromartie sprained his left ankle turning first and limped back to the bag with a single. Bernazard came in to run and stole second. He scored on Chris Speier's single to left and that was that.
"They all had good jumps," Green said. "We talked to Dick about his stretch motion in spring training, but we didn't want to haggle at him over it. He had enough on his mind convincing himself his arm was sound again and I didn't want him working on everything at once. The last 10 days down there his work on it was rather detailed. But when he drops his head once he's gonna go to home plate. The Expos obviously did some homework on Dick and they capitalized on it. What happened out there wasn't Boonie's fault."
Boone figures the three extra bases he gave the Expos didn't do much for Ruthven's peace of mind.
"I certainly didn't help him out there," the catcher said. "It's what you call a bad day. I was hurrying. Even when a runner gets a jump I've got to be mechanically sound on my throws. I just didn't get on top enough and all three of them looked like the sinkers I tried to throw when I used to pitch. Dick definitely let the frustration he was feeling affect his pitches, but I didn't help him out any."
RUTHVEN SAID THE Montreal sprinters took his changeup away from him.
"I lost my changeup," he said. "It's tough to make pitches against these guys when you're not thinking about the right things. I don't think I was nodding my head that much. Hell. I even did a couple of times on purpose to deke them. I actually thought I had pretty good stuff today until the fifth inning. I just wound up doing what they wanted to make me do."
Ironically, when the Phillies signed Ruthven out of college in 1973, he had a tremendous pickoff move. But Andy Messersmith preached total concentration on hitters to him. Like Steve Carlton before the lefthander developed his devastating pickoff move in 1977, Ruthven didn't worry a lot about stolen bases. But a guy who takes as long as he does to get from stretch to delivery is going to have a terrible time against the league's speed teams.
"He does not remember doing things the way we've talked about," Green said.
"They won't be doing that stuff against Larry Christenson tomorrow," Pete Rose shrugged. "He's got a helluva move when he don't balk."
PHILUPS: Mike Schmidt, who drove in three runs, was 4-for4 with a homer and three singles. He is quietly cranking up for one of his tears and had crushed the ball in eight of his last nine at-bats. "I watched films of myself on the off-day after we came home from Clearwater." Schmidt said. "I can't believe how relaxed I was. That's my whole key" ... "The middle of the lineup is going good," Dallas Green said. "If we can get the top and bottom guys straightened out the offense will be in good shape." Larry Bowa is 2-for-23 . . . The crowd for Montreal's home opener was 41,212 ... Montreal Gazette sports columnist Tim Burke on the May 20 sovereignty-association referendum: "It's hard to believe that in a year I might be living in a foreign country" . . . Larry Christenson vs. Steve Rogers this afternoon. Randy Lerch vs. Bill Lee tomorrow.
2 Fans Win Home Run Payoff Bonanza
By Lorenzo Biggs
Someone must have informed Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski that the fifth inning of yesterday's Phillies-Expos game in Montreal was the big one in the Daily News Home Run Payoff. At least they picked that inning to hit back-to-back homers. The Phillies trailed at that point, 2-1, and needed runs. Unfortunately, the Phillies lost, 7-5.
The Schmidt-Luzinski connection gave us the first home-run playoff of the season, won $1,000, plus $50 (2 RBI) for Sidney Hopson of Philadelphia and $1,000, plus $25 (one RBI) for Frank D. Mazzuca, also of Philadelphia. Altogether, the Home Run Payoff inning produced six winners.
For Frank D. Mazzuca, a salesmen for First Pennsylvania Bank, the news jumped out of his car speakers and stunned him. "I was driving along and almost hit the guy in front front of me," Mazzuca said.
MAZZUCA, WHO SEES about 20 home games a season ("I figure I pay part of Manny Trillo's salary"), thinks the Phils are in desperate need of pitching. "They have a very big questionmark after (Steve) Carlton." he said.
Having pitched and played first base in high school, along with playing 18 years with the First Pennsylvania soltball team, Mazzuca knows what he's talking about.
Mazzuca's son, Christopher – "He'll be 13 next month" – seems to be the athletic type and shows interest in sports. "He wants me to play ball," the 38-year-old father said. "Right now I have hockey pads on."
For Mazzuca the $1,025 came at an appropriate time. "I just got a $1,900 bill for my son's braces," he said.
ALTHOUGH GREG GROSS is Mazzuca's favorite player ("he hits for the average and is very consistent"), he didn't forget the man who made it all possible. "I hope that Greg can come over for a spaghetti dinner. His family is welcome over too. but I know he won't eat much, because he's on a diet."
Sidney Hopson, the other big payoff winner, was unavailable last night for comments.
Other winners in the fifth were John J. Morales of Lumberton, N.J who won $50 plus tickets on a double by Bake McBride; R. L. Smith of Pennsauken; Stanley Maliszewski of Philadelphia, and Kenny Schell of Reading. Each won four tickets to a Phillies game.
So far the Daily News has paid out $2,495.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 33.