Allentown Morning Call - April 28, 1980

Green does Patton bit after Cards humble Phils, 10-1


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – After yesterday afternoon's embarrassing 10-1 loss to St. Louis at Veterans Stadium, Phillies' manager Dallas Green kept the press at some distance from the locker room door while he went into his Gen. Patton routine. Someone observed that the distance should've been 60 feet, 6 inches.


It was from that celebrated stretch of turf that Dick Ruthven surrendered eight hits and four runs in just 2⅓ innings, and that relief pitchers Kevin Saucier and Lerrin LaGrow fared little better yesterday. And it is from that distance that the Phillies’ starting rotation has a collective 6.21 ERA. That includes a solid 2.18 mark from Steve Carlton who can be excused from this discussion. 


And it is also from that distance – as nobody has to remind Green – that pennants are won and lost.


Right now. Ruthven (17 earned runs and 28 hits in 15.2 innings) is the major concern. With Nino Espinosa scheduled to remain on the disabled list for "at least another three weeks,” according to pitching coach Herm Starrette, the Phillies need to get something from Ruthven quick or forget about him. 


"I think it's time to re-evaluate where we are with said Green. "I'd like to give him one more start at least I'm not saving it's the last start or anything like that. But maybe the shock treatment from these last two games (Ruthven was also bombed by the New York Mets) and the talks I'm going to have with him personally, will change things around." 


That sounds a little bit like Green has just about run out of time waiting for Ruthven to come back from offseason elbow surgery – especially since Ruthven has insisted all along, and still insists, that he has no pain. 


“I see no difference in his motion or anything like that," said Green who has studied films of Ruthven. "The velocity is what we're worried about. I'd be much more encouraged if he was at least throwing the ball. He said he feels like he's throwing it but he's not. Everybody's told him that." 


This is not to say that pitching was the only thing troubling Green yesterday. After playing dead against Pete Vuckovich for the seventh straight time Friday night, the Phillie hitters went to sleep again yesterday in attempting to show why Bob Forsch should be immediately admitted to the Hall of Fame. Forsch gave them only six hits, two of the infield variety. 


"It helps when you have that said Forsch who was staked to a 4-0 advantage after just three innings. "When you have a lead, you're more apt to give up a few runs but it's a lot easier pitching. You don't want to walk anybody. so you just tend to blow the ball in there and let them hit it, even against a team like the Phils. Today I just happened to have good location along with the lead so I had little trouble." 


The top of the Phillies’ order was 2-for-21 against Vuckovich on Friday and the same five – Pete Rose. Greg Gross. Garry Maddox. Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski – were 2-for-18 against Forsch. 


Gross in particular is struggling. Starting for Bake McBride. who is both injured and in Green's doghouse, Gross is now 3-for-20 (.150). After the game, Gross glumly walked out of the locker room carrying a rubber plate and tee for extra practice. Hitting instructor Billy DeMars walked beside him and they resembled a father and son visiting the old woodshed to discuss a misdeed of the son. 


The eighth inning is emblematic of the Phillies' day. The Cards, already leading 7-1, scored three more runs, all of them in real fun ways. 


With two out. reliever LaGrow appeared to be out of the inning when Garry Templeton bounced a routine grounder to second baseman Luis Aguayo. But Aguayo. subbing for Manny Trillo who is on the 15-day disabled list, simply dropped the ball behind him as he went to throw.


Next, Ken Oberkfell sent a ball to right center that Maddox probably would have caught. But Green had taken Maddox out of the game the inning before and Gross couldn't catch up to it. Lonnie Smith, who had taken Gross’ place in right, finally chased the ball down at the wall but then slipped as he stood up and Oberkfell had himself an inside-the-park homer, a rarity at artificial-turfed Veterans Stadium. 


LaGrow decided he'd had enough help by that time and took matters into his own hands by giving up a double to Keith Hernandez (see related story) and consecutive singles to Dane Iorg and Terry Kennedy to account for another run before George Hendrick ended the inning by flying out.


The Phillies scored their only run in the fifth. Larry Bowa bounced a slow-hopper at shortstop Templeton who threw wildly past first as Bowa crossed the bag. Hendrick was slow to back up first, as is his wont, and Bowa made it to third. Aguayo got Bowa home with another infield hit. 


This display of power, however, was not enough to keep Green from his postgame hollering session.


"Yes. we had a little discussion,” said Green, "and I guess I did most of the discussing. But it was no big deal. It's not time for that yet. It was just a reminder to them that I will not let them slip into areas that we've slipped in before." 


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NOTES – Rose moved into fourth place in the all-time at-bat list with 10,883. Ahead of him are Stan Musial, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. All are within striking distance before Rose ends his career at age 50… 


The Phillies are off today before moving to Shea Stadium for a three-game series against the Mets beginning Tuesday.