Allentown Morning Call - June 9, 1980

Phils lose but Ruthven impresses


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Though Dick Ruthven and the Phillies picked up a loss yesterday, the problem of whether or not to trade for a starting pitcher got harder, not easier. 


In one of the more unusual occurrences of recent history, the Phillies actually got enough good pitching to sweep a series without Steve Carlton. My, that would have been something. 


But yesterday afternoon at Veterans Stadium, Lynn McGlothen – a man who has spent half of his time in the bullpen and, by the looks of him, the other half around the dinner table – prevented a sweep with a six-hit. 2-0 victory that topped a strong seven-inning peformance by Ruthven. 


Bruce Sutter got the obligatory save, of course, his 12th in 22 Chicago wins. And McGlothen officially joins that select list of National League pitchers (featuring St. Louis' Pete Vuckovich and New York's Mark Bomback) who tie the best of the Philadelphia hitters in knots. The first four Phillie batters were 2-for-15 yesterday against McGlothen. 


The loss ended a three-game Phillie winning streak with Carlton going for his sixth straight win tonight in the opener of a three-game series with San Francisco. It was the fourth time this season the Phillies have been shut out and the loss dips their record on Sundays to 2-7. Not surprisingly, most Sunday games are played during the day and the Phillies have shown a distinct lack of motivation when asked to play a day game after a night game. They are now 1-4 in such situations and 7-11 in all day games. And on the seventh day they shall rest. The Phils are 8-1 on Saturdays, however. 


All that does not answer the question of whether the Phils will trade for a starting pitcher. Even Dallas Green will not answer it because he says he's not sure. But that didn't stop him from making some salient points about trades. Such as: 


He gave a qualified "no" when asked if he would rule out trading one of his relievers. Translation: He will NOT trade Dickie Noles but, conceivably, Tug McGraw, Ron Reed, Kevin Saucier or Lerrin Lagrow could be put on the block if a starter becomes available. 


What that could mean is a deal with St. Louis, a club that would do almost anything to get bullpen help. And Green pointedly said that general manager Paul Owens would trade within the Eastern Division if he thought it would help the team. 


"You know, Pope (Owens), he's a pretty patient guy," said Green. "I think it'll go right down to the wire (the trade deadline is June 15). 


"I still have faith that we can do it with the staff we have. And I think if Randy Lerch and Ruthven were throwing consistently, like they have this weekend, that we might walk away with it. How's that? 


"It may be that we don't have enough pitching. But I guarantee that with the pitching we do have, we'll still take this thing down to the wire. Now, if we have any more injuries or a total breakdown, we'll be hurting, no doubt about it. Then we'll have to change our thinking." 


The Phils will not take it down to the wire, however, if they see enough pitchers like McGlothen who was making only his fourth start of the season yesterday. He was 3-1 against the Phils last year and, with yesterday's win, has now allowed just three runs in those four victories. 


"Up until last year, I really didn't have great success against the Phils," said McGlothen who was in the Cubs' doghouse (a very large place) early in the season because of a weight problem and also because he left spring training when the strike was called. "My formula with them is to throw as much junk as possible. I'll throw a breaking ball to Schmidt or Luzinski and if I don't get it over, I'll throw it again." 


With a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth, however, McGlothen decided to challenge Luzinski with a fastball and Bull doubled to left. a one-run lead he would've never seen that pitch," said McGlothen. Anyway, that was all manager Preston Gomez had to see before he called the firehouse and Sutter came slithering down the pole. 


"You can't object to being pulled with that guy out there," said McGlothen of Sutter. "He's the best in the league. I expect to be out of there." 


The way to beat Sutter, so it is told, is to wait on the splitfingered pitch which, theoretically, will dip down out of the strike zone. So, Bob Boone promptly swung at the first pitch to ground out and Garry Maddox swung at the next three to strike out. Next time, perhaps, they need a take sign. 


Pinch-hitter Del Unser kept things alive by reaching first on a questionable call after a wide throw by second baseman Mike Tyson on a groundball. Sutter then pitched carefully to hot-hitting Manny Trillo and walked him. But rookie pinch-hitter George Vukovich lined to shortstop to end the game.

Boys will be boys, but baseball brawls getting out of hand


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


I'd be the last person to say that the Memorial Day brawl between the Phillies and the Pirates wasn't a little bit of fun. And think what it did for the unknown species of bullpen catchers. Quick, raise your hand if you had heard of Mike "Irish" Ryan before he personally attempted to recreate the under-the-bridge gang war in "West Side Story." 


But the genesis of the brawl – the time-honored beanball – is not a little bit of fun. If Mike Schmidt or Greg Luzinski or Bert Blyleven, the home plate principals involved, were now in hospitals instead of playing, some of the boys-will-be-boys aspect of the fight would have ceased to be funny. 


The same night the Phils and the Pirates tangled at Veterans Stadium, the Rangers and Angels got into it in Anaheim after California's Bruce Kison, who has always pitched like he has a soda concession in the emergency room, hit Buddy Bell then knocked down Johnny Grubb.


Even before that there were a couple of other close calls. One night I saw Rupert Jones and Reggie Jackson of the Yankees hit back-to-back home runs off of Texas' Dave Rajsich who then threw at the next hitter. Jim Spencer, in one of this season's more poorly-disguised examples of displaced aggression. 


Spencer's response was to charge the mound waving his bat, and I'm here to say that my sentiments are with the Jim Spencers of the world rather than the Dave Rajsichs. 


Perhaps it's because I was never much of a pitcher (in truth, I wasn't much of a hitter, either) but I could never understand the age-old justification of knocking down a hot hitter or knocking down a hitter because somebody else hit a home run.


In a recent interview with UPI, former Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale, who was known in his day for dispensing shaves along with balls and strikes, made the following leap of logic which summarizes the attitude of many pitchers and baseball people in general "The way they have things now. the hitter can do whatever he likes in the batter's box and the pitcher can't do a thing about it out there on the mound." 


Ah. quite true. Big D. For example, the batter can call timeout and perform the Highland fling and the pitcher is not permitted to do a thing about it. Presumably, a batter could pull out a copy of Michelin's Restaurant Guide and begin planning the evening meal and the pitcher is not permitted to do a thing about it. But when the time comes for the pitch, we have only this age-old struggle the pitcher, digging in as he pleases around the pitcher rubber, throws the ball and the batter, digging in as he pleases around home plate, tries to hit it with a bat. 


I've always wondered why pitchers would not feel it illogical that, after striking out two consecutive hitters, a bat would not "slip" out of the next hitter's hands and fly toward the mound. Is there any difference between that and Rajsich's throwing at Spencer after consecutive home runs?


The problem, of course, is that no umpire can always tell when a pitcher is only trying for the inside part of the plate and when he is trying to rearrange a batter's Adam's apple. But most of the time he can.


Let's take the recent Phillies-Pirates game. The pitcher was Bert Blyleven who specializes in curveballs around the outside part of the plate, a pitch that befuddles most batters but one that Schmidt and Luzinski happen to have the strength to simply wrist out of the park even if they're fooled. Good for them. In the first inning. Schmidt goes down. Then Luzinski goes down. Nobody else. Just Schmidt and Luzinski. In the third. Schmidt goes down again and points his finger at Blyleven as both benches empty. 


Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi would've placidly waited for the next pitch but I maintain that it was perfectly reasonable for Schmidt to start out after Blyleven. Blyleven is not just protecting his rights as a pitcher, he's playing with another man's health and welfare. 


At this point, home plate umpire Doug Harvey should have done two things – he should have warned Blyleven that another close call would bring an ejection and he should have warned the Phils that retaliation would bring an ejection. Harvey said later that he felt Blyleven 's pitches, all three of them, were not enough to draw a warning. Then he should have his head examined. And even if he truly believed that, he could have stopped a potentially-explosive situation by double warnings. 


But nobody got a warning and when Blyleven came up with two outs and the bases empty in the sixth inning he may as well have had a target painted on his back. Kevin Saucier, a pitcher with a reputation for "protecting his own" (which is not. by the way, what somebody like Kison is known for) plunked him deliberately and the good times were ready to roll.


Certainly, Saucier should have been ejected for his obviously deliberate beanball, but baseball law states that a pitcher must've been warned first and Harvey didn't do that back in the third. It's a little strange that a player can be immediately ejected for uttering a two-word phrase that school children write on the blackboard, while a warning is required for banishing someone who deliberately hurled a speeding projectile at another man's head. 


But that's baseball, a sport where the beanball is such a part of lore and legend that it's just kind of smiled at in most quarters. That attitude is certainly present in the not-always reasonable mind of Phillie manager Dallas Green who felt in the first place that Blyleven had done nothing wrong by "using both sides of the plate" on his two most dangerous hitters, but that Saucier did nothing wrong by trying a little ear surgery on Blyleven. And, what the heck, a good time was had by all. 


But had one of the three aimed-at batsmen been seriously injured, it wouldn't have been quite so much fun.