Wilmington News Journal - April 19, 1980
Green silences critics in Phils’ loss to Expos
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
MONTREAL - Blame it on Dallas Green.
The Phillies get whipped by Montreal 7-5 and for the first time this year the rookie manager leaves himself open to the second-guess brigade.
Why did he let Dick Ruthven, whose concentration was obviously shattered, remain in the game in the fifth inning yesterday long enough to serve up a three-run homer to Gary Carter?
After all, earlier in the inning Ruthven had already hit a batter, walked a batter, thrown a wild pitch and given up a run-scoring single to Larry Parrish that had reduced Philadelphia's lead to 4-3 on the cold afternoon at Olympic Stadium.
If it had been any other inning but the fifth, wouldn't Green have gone to the bullpen? Wasn't he trying to build Ruthven's confidence and at the same time stick with his pitcher long enough for him to be eligible for a victory?
"I had no intentions of taking him out in that situation," Green snapped after the Expos' successful home opener. "You can apply for the manager's job if you want to. You have to realize you're a hundred feet up in the air and another 200 feet behind home plate. Everything looks good to hit up there (press box). Dick Ruthven is one of my top pitchers. I'm not going to take him out in that situation. It's that simple."
Green went on to explain his stubbornness for leaving Ruthven in and at the same time changed the thinking of most of the second-guessers.
By the time Carter sent Ruthven's first pitch screaming over the center-field wall, the Expos had stolen four bases and forced catcher Bob Boone to make three throwing errors. Green said the baserunners were causing Ruthven to forget about the job at hand – getting batters out.
After the Phils had taken a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Mike Schmidt and. Greg Luzinski off starter Scott Sanderson, Ruthven hit Ron LeFlore with a pitch to start the bottom of the inning. With Rodney Scott batting, LaFlore stole second without Boone making a throw.
Scott flied out to center and before Andre Dawson walked, LaFlore went to third on a wild pitch. With Dawson on first and LaFlore on third, and with Kevin Saucier and Lerrin LaGrow warming up in the bullpen, Green went to the mound.
"I told him I felt he was showing his frustrations and consequently was losing his concentration. Green said. "I told him not to worry about the runners and concentrate on one hitter at a time. I said don't let them build this thing into a big inning."
Then, facetiously, Green added: "He heeded that advice very nicely."
After Green left the mound, Ruthven got Ellis Valentine to pop out to the second baseman, but Parrish drilled a liner through the middle that almost hit the pitcher and Carter followed, blasting the first pitch over the wall for his 99th career homer.
"A fastball right down the middle of the plate," Green said. "You can't blame those steals on Bob Boone. They all had good jumps. Dick Ruthven has been having some trouble holding runners on base. We talked about it in spring training, but we didn't want to haggle him too much because he had other worries. We wanted to get that arm concern out of his mind first. The last 10 days we worked rather diligently on his pickoff move. When he drops his head, he'll usually do it once, then go to home plate and it becomes a pattern. We tried to have him correct that pattern. Apparently, the Expos have done a little homework, too, and picked it up."
"I don't see now they can consistently go on the drop of my head," said Ruthven, who allowed six runs and seven hits in the four and a third innings. "In fact, a couple of times I actually looked up. If that's what the brain bank (manager, coaches) thinks I'll continue to work on it. I got preoccuppied with that particular point and lost my concentration as to what I was trying to do with the hitters. I forgot about my change-up and as a result they didn't have to look for anything off-speed.
"I knew what they were going to dd. They did it in Philadelphia last weekend and we threw them out. It was the same me pitching. I don't think I was any slower today. I think it was a combination of bad throws – I'm never going to be as quick as some people in the league to home plate, and then me losing my concentration in the fifth inning.
"I could easily have gotten out of that inning; I threw a good pitch to Parrish and he almost hit me in the face with it. Obviously, though, it wasn't the right pitch in that situation."
"I felt like Dick had lost the feel of his breaking ball by the fifth inning," said Boone: "He was going with his fastball all the way and got a couple of them up. He lost a lot of his concentration because of the runners."
The Phils took a 1-0 lead m the third inning when Schmidt, who three singles and the two-run homer, scored Pete Rose from second. The Expos went ahead 2-1 on an RBI single by Carter and a triple by Chris Speier.
Saucier gave up the seventh run after he replaced Ruthven in the fifth and the Phils got an unearned run off reliever Dave Palmer in the eighth.
EXTRA POINTS - Warren Cromartie sprained his left ankle rounding first base on a single off Saucier in the fifth... He was replaced by pinch-runner Tony Bernazard who promptly stole second, the Expos' fifth steal of the day... Schmidt's homer was his first of the year... Ruthven is now 7-8 vs. Montreal lifetime... The Expos were 56-25 at Olympic Stadium in 1979, but lost their final game to the Phils, a setback that Kept them' from tying Pittsburgh for the National League Eastern Division title... Tommy Hutton, who replaced Cromartie at first base, made an outstanding lunging catch of Garry Maddox' liner in the ninth... Luzinski's homer was his 30th against the Expos... Manny Trillo's five-game hitting streak came to an end... Larry Christen-son goes against Steve Rogers today; Randy Lerch vs. Bill Lee tomorrow.