Wilmington Evening Journal - July 23, 1980

Phils’ lack of character turns Green red


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


CINCINNATI – Dallas Green read the riot act to the Phillies again last night. The manager's Richter-scale assessment of the night's play carried through two closed doors.


It all boiled down to character, Green said when the shouting stopped. But he has said it 1,000 times before. Last night at Riverfront Stadium was 1,001.


"All I can do is scream and yell and kick and holler," said Green after the Phils' 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. It was Steve Carlton's fifth defeat and the club's fifth straight loss.


"But I didn't do much kicking," Green added.


The screaming, yelling and hollering, however, were evident. The question remains: will it do any more good than it did the first 1,000 times?


"If you can't gear up for a guy going for the Cy Young Award, who can you gear up for? Green wondered. "Lefty could've won this one. He could've won this one 4-0 easily."


The problem, the manager reiterated, is character.


"You still go back to character, that's what makes a ballclub," Green said. "If character can't evolve and develop, we're in helluva shape because last year's character wasn't very nice on this ballclub. But we've told 'em that. We've gone through that over a thousand times.”


What about the club's current character?


"I'd like to think we've improved," Green said. "There's more sincerity, more aggressiveness, more wanting than there's been in the past. Maintaining that character is something."


The words came slowly. "We all have peaks and valleys. How we handle them is the test of character. We're going into a valley and it's going to test us. We can't depend on the damn ability all the time."


Last night's offensive and defensive goat turned out to be Mike Schmidt. Not only did Schmidt's throwing error open the door for two Reds' runs, but Schmidt, currently 2-for-22 at the plate, stranded five runners, three at third base.


"And two with tees than two out," Green added.


Green was obviously annoyed by the non-support of Carlton.


"Lefty pitched fine. He held 'em to one run, the team held 'em to three," he said. "It's frustrating. This is the time of the year when we should not be doing the kind of things we're doing to beat ourselves and not get runs in.


"I buy a slump. Except for a few guys, nobody's swinging the bat well. But that's gonna happen over 162 games. Why get excited about it? Just gear up and play exciting baseball.”


The Phillies excited no one, particularly Green, last night. They had winning Cincinnati pitcher Mario Soto in hot water early, putting two men on base in the first inning.


Greg Gross walked, Bake McBride singled and both moved up a base on Johnny Beach's passed ball. But Soto fanned both Schmidt and Garry Maddox to give him 95 strikeouts in 94 innings.


"I worked pretty good on Schmidt," said Soto, who hadn't pitched a complete game since August, 1977 until last night. "He was the man I was careful with with men on base. I didn't want to give in to him. If you do, vou get beat."


Soto wasn't as fortunate with Bob Boone, who drilled his sixth homer over the left-field fence In the second inning.


"That was a hanging slider, right in his face," said Soto. "That was the only bad pitch I made all night."


The Reds got the run back in their half of the second when Bench singled, raced to third on Ray Knight's double and scored on Dan Driessen's sacrifice fly.


The game stayed tied until the sixth when Schmidt's throw on Bench's grounder pulled Pete Rose off first base.


"Bench just outhustled him, that's all,” said Green, barely disguising his disgust.


Knight tripled Bench home, then scored himself on Driessen's single.


Green rejected the notion that Schmidt might be carrying his problems at the plate into the field with him.


"He usually doesn't do that," Green said. "He's played this game long enough to have been through this before. He's battled through it before and he'll battle through it again."


The Phils scored their final run in the seventh with another of their two-out rallies.


Rose walked and went to third on Gross' single to center. McBride singled to right, scoring Rose. Schmidt who had already stranded three baserunners, upped his count to five with a long fly to right.


Green says he doesn't plan to give up his oratory.


"If I keep yelling and screaming, somebody will listen sooner or later, if they want to or not" Green said. "If I didn't think they wanted to listen, I wouldn't be here."


Do they really want to listen?


"Nobody said it would be easy," Green sighed. Then he paused for a moment.


"I can hear Danny (Ozark) chuckling now."


EXTRA INNINGS – Carlton's five strikeouts moved him into sixth place on the all-time strikeout list with 2,856, passing Jim Bunning and the still-active Ferguson Jenkins... Bench's second-inning single tied him with Edd Roush for fourth place on Reds' all-time hit list with 1,784... The Reds (16-9) and New York Mets are only clubs with winning records against Carlton... Soto on beating Carlton: "Everybody knows he's gonna pitch a good game. I'm just glad I won."... McBride's 12-game hitting streak is a club high. Bake did it once before and Maddox tied it... Phils went over the million mark in road attendance last night with paid crowd of 28,079.