Chicago Tribune - June 9, 1980
McGlothen, Sutter end Cubs’ losing streak at 4
By Richard Dozer, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – Lynn McGlothen pitched his way into the starting rotation, Bruce Sutter discovered what he was doing wrong, and the Cubs had their second shutout of the season Sunday in time to end a four-game losing streak.
It was a classy effort by the long-suffering McGlothen and a typical Cub finish, fraught with the ninth-inning pitfalls of an error, a walk, and a contested call by first-base umpire Andy Olsen.
But because McGlothen knew how to use a bat nearly as well as he knew how to pitch, the Cubs emerged with a 2-0 victory. McGlothen pitched five-hit ball for eight innings, served a leadoff double in the ninth to Greg Luzinski, then yielded to Sutter, who turned his first appearance in six days into his 12th save.
The days off for Sutter had been well spent in the bullpen. He said he had thrown a few times and discovered he was holding his fingers too far apart on the ball. “Instead of my ball breaking down sharply,” he said, “it was rolling.”
McGLOTHEN, WHO despaired after Wednesday night’s loss in Montreal in which a three-run homer by Andre Dawson turned a 1-1 game into a second straight loss, finally got the result he deserved.
McGlothen said he felt he should have been starting regularly after posting a 13-14 record last year. This was only his fourth start of the season.
“I didn’t start the whole month of May,” said McGlothen, whose apartment was ransacked last month. “They ran four guys out there I know aren’t any better than me. But that’s all behind me. Maybe they’ll give me the ball now.”
Cub Manager Preston Gomez, denying McGlothen was punished for leaving camp during the players strike at the end of spring training, said, “He’s never been out of the rotation.
“We had a lot of rainouts the first month of the season and I went with three starters,” Gomez said. “Now that we’re playing regular, he has become a starter.”
THE CUBS COULD have used McGlothen’s bat when he wasn’t pitching. They did Sunday against the Phillies’ Dick Ruthven (5-5). In the third inning, McGlothen drove a double into left-center field. It took two more hits to score him – an infield single by Ivan DeJesus and a sharply hit double over third base by Mike Tyson.
McGlothen figured in the Cubs’ second run as well. Tim Blackwell singled with one out in the seventh, and Lynn sacrificed. DeJesus followed with his second single of the game into center to set up a close play at the plate.
Phillie center fielder Garry Maddox got to the ball quickly and threw a one-hopper to the plate. Blackwell, not the swiftest of the Cubs, appeared doomed. But Philadelphia catcher Bob Boone dropped the throw.
McGlothen now had what he called “room to work.” He faced only three Phillies in the seventh, three more in the eighth, and had retired seven in a row before Luzinski pulled his double into the left-field corner.
“I HAD A chance to challenge him,” said McGlothen, who had kept the Phillies off balance with breaking balls until he got a two-run lead. It was a fast ball that Luzinski hit.
“I pitch like I’ve always got first base open,” McGlothen said, explaining how he gets by Philadelphia without challenging the Phillies sluggers, Mike Schmidt and Luzinski. “I keep giving them breaking balls. Schmidt likes to sit on my fastball, but I struck him out twice today on breaking balls.”
McGlothen beat the Phillies three times last year, allowing them only three runs. This was the major reason he was disturbed when he was not in the starting rotation when Philadelphia was in Chicago a week ago.
“I’ve been preoccupied with getting starts, and in the process, I’ve been hurting us in relief,” he said. “I don’t like relief. Sometimes, it takes Lynn McGlothen two or three innings to get started. That’s too late in relief.”
HIS LAST TIME out, McGlothen lasted until the seventh inning when Dawson and Gary Carter hit back-to-back homers to ruin his bid to impress Gomez. “I didn’t have the stamina the other night, but I did today,” he said.
Gomez didn’t waste any time summoning Sutter with none out in the ninth. Sutter got Bob Boone to ground out on one pitch. Then he struck out Maddox on three pitches. But Del Unser bounced one far to the left of Mike Tyson, and the Cub second baseman had trouble flagging it down.
After Tyson caught up with the ball, he threw wide of first, causing Larry Biittner to stretch toward the outfield side of the bag to make the catch while pushing himself off the bag at the same time.
Olsen ruled that Biittner wasn’t touching the bag when he caught the ball, and Biittner argued the decision. “I know I had him,” said Biittner, who wanted to get off the base quickly to avoid being blind-sided by Unser.
GEORGE VUKOVICH, a Phillie rookie from Arlington Heights, was sent up as the final pinch-hitter. With a two-strike count, he lined softly to DeJesus to end the game.
Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green said he couldn’t explain why a pitcher such as McGlothen “beats heck out of us,” but has trouble with other teams. Green earlier had tried to explain to Vukovich how to handle Sutter – also without success.
‘He throws that thing (the split-fingered fast ball), and I told George that most of the time it’s a ball if you have the patience to lay off it,” Green said. “You have to have patience.”
But after two strikes, Vukovich ran out of patience, the Phils ran out of threats, and the Cubs ran out of town, headed for Houston and the last leg of the three-city trip.