Philadelphia Inquirer - June 9, 1980
Phillies fall, 2-0, to Cubs
Ruthven receives scant help in loss
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Phillies couldn't blame a starting pitcher for this one.
Dick Ruthven went out and had, to his way of figuring it, his best day of the season. "Today was 1978 and the first part of last year for me," he said, remembering the best of times later.
But, of course, he had the 1980 Phillies as a supporting cast yesterday, and they wasted Ruthven's good pitching work in a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The 1980 Phillies are much like the 1979 Phillies, it turns out, in that they can't hit the Cubs' Lynn McGlothen.
McGlothen is from the Buddy Jay (Eddie or whatever) Solomon school of pitching when it comes to the Phillies. He has bounced around in his career. But when he gets the Phils in his sights, he develops fine control and beats them. He was 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the Phillies last year, and got yesterday's win by shutting them out on six hits for eight innings.
Not bad for a guy – a spot starter, really – who came into the game with a 2-2 record and a 6.94 ERA, poorest on the Cubs' staff.
"I'm sure if you research the damn league, you'll find one person who'll beat the hell out of one ball club," said Dallas Green, making the standard Pete Vuckovich, Phil Niekro and so on comment. "I can't explain it. It's just history, and it happens."
For sure, on this Sunday, the Phillies' bats rested – although the Phils had something going in the ninth before Bruce Sutter finally nailed down the save, his 12th.
Through eight innings, McGlothen scattered five hits, two of them singles by Manny Trillo. He completely shut down Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt. He didn't give up more than one hit in an inning. And he sailed through 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth.
"He put the ball in pretty good spots," Green said. "You'd think that would be unusual for a spot starter. You'd think we'd get two or three pitches to hit during the day, but apparently we didn't... or we did and just didn't hit them. But he was throwing strikes today. He was throwing strikes with the breaking ball, which certainly helped him."
All pumped up
"He was not unhittable," said Schmidt, who went 0-for-4 and struck out twice, including once with a man on second. "I like to hit the curve ball that breaks low into the strike zone. But you get so pumped up to hit it, you never get relaxed."
Maybe, but McGlothen – a guy who has moved from Boston to St. Louis to San Francisco to Chicago, a guy who carries a layer of fat around his middle – had the Phillies' number.
"I'm prejudiced," Green said. "I think we ought to beat everybody. But, yeah, I'm surprised we couldn't grind out two runs against him some way. We couldn't get anything going until the last inning."
So Ruthven's work was for nothing. He allowed seven hits and the two runs while striking out six before leaving for pinch-hitter Greg Gross with two out and nobody on in the seventh, when Green was desperate to pull something out of the hat. And the Phillies are hardly a group that can afford to discard a good starting effort; all the trade talk that's going around tells you that.
"I think this was the best (he has thrown) all year as far as what Boonie (Bob Boone) and I are looking for, like ‘78. That was it," Ruthven said. "I had pop on the fastball. I was getting the breaking ball over. I was getting the ball down."
Still, Green pointed out: "It comes up 'L' (a loss). But if he pitches like that, with the offense we have, we're gonna win some for him."
And, still, the Cubs were able to find two runs somewhere.
With one out in the third, McGlothen, a .455 hitter this season, laced a double into the gap in left-center field. Ivan DeJesus followed with an infield hit – Trillo making a great stop to save the run at that spot. But then Mike Tyson slapped a ball just past Schmidt at third for a double to score it.
"Mike said he would have dove for it if he knew the ball was going to hit like that," Ruthven said. "Still, nobody scores if I don't go 3-2 on the pitcher and then have to put one down the chute."
The Cubs' second run, which came in the seventh, was also a matter of inches. Catcher Tim Blackwell, a .200 hitter who also seems to rise to new heights against the Phils, singled with one out. McGlothen bunted him over to second, and, next, DeJesus scored the run with a single up the middle.
Garry Maddox charged DeJesus hit and fired to the plate, but Blackwell won the collision of catchers when the ball popped out of Boone's mitt as the throw came in. Green said the throw "short-hopped" Boone. "And Boone had no chance," he said, "unless it's a great play."
So then, down, 2-0, Green felt he had to hit for Ruthven (Gross grounded out). Ron Reed came in and held the fort, in the grand style of the Phillies' bullpen of late, with two hitless innings. But the Phillies hitters couldn't do anything but come close.
Greg Luzinski crushed McGlothen's second pitch of the ninth for a double into the left-field corner, and so Cubs manager Preston Gomez didn't waste any time calling for Sutter and his split-fingered fastball.
"I knew I was gonna get Sutter if I got in trouble," McGlothen said. "Luzinski could have hit that last pitch out of the park. But I knew it would be 2-1, and I'd still get Sutter."
With Sutter on the mound, the Phils seemed ready to lose. Boone grounded his first pitch right to DeJesus, the shortstop, and Maddox swung at three straight pitches and turned for the dugout.
Next, however, the Phillies got a break. Pinch-hitter Del Unser hit a smash deep to the right side of the infield. Tyson made the play almost behind first base and flipped to the stretching Larry Biittner there, but umpire Andy Olsen called Unser safe as the Cubs argued. Sutter then walked Trillo on four pitches to load the bases, and Green sent rookie George Vukovich out to hit for Reed. Vukovich was told to imitate Trillo, not Maddox.
"I just told George to have patience," Green said. "In this case, you're going to get the split-fingered fastball, and most of the time, if you're patient, it's a ball. The only way you'll beat Sutter is to lay off the split-fingered fastball, and that demands a lot of patience on the part of the hitter."
The rookie took a called strike, fouled a ball off for strike two and then lined a ball right at DeJesus to end the game.
NOTES: The Cubs ended a three-game winning streak by the Phillies.... Green on the possibility of a trade for another starter before the deadline next Sunday: "Only you and I can guess, but there doesn't seem to be anybody around or willing to be moved around. You know Pope (Paul Owens), though. He's a pretty patient guy, and he'll go down to the wire regardless."... Trillo has a six-game hitting streak going and has quietly, improved his average to .336...". Schmidt is still one hit away from 1,000.... Pitching matchups for the series with San Francisco: Steve Carlton (going for his 11th win) vs. John Montefusco tonight. Bob Walk vs. Bob Knepper tomorrow and Randy Lerch vs. Ed Whitson on Wednesday.