Camden Courier-Post - May 12, 1980
Aggressive Phillies overcome Reds
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
CINCINNATI – One of the trademarks of the
Dallas Green version of the Phillies was supposed to have been aggressiveness. They were, Green insisted, going to sign each of their wins with a bold, daring signature.
And the Phils did run, did take an extra base or two, early in the season. But the new style lasted less time than the peasant look and the Phils reverted to their old way of waiting patiently for Mike Schmidt or Greg Luzinski to hit one out.
"At home we seem to play aggressive, but on the road we seem timid," said shortstop Larry Bowa, who contributed a couple of hits and scored twice in a 7-3 victory over the Reds in Riverfront Stadium yesterday. "I don't know why that's been. You'd think you would play more aggressive on the road because you don't have the home fans to get on you if you make a mistake.
"We can't sit around. When we sit around, we get lulled to sleep."
THE PHILS were wide awake, making the most of four stolen bases – three by Pete Rose – one Cincinnati error and nine hits, to win a crucial game in a critical eight-game road trip. A loss yesterday would have given the Reds a sweep of the three-game series and sent the Phillies to their next stop, Atlanta, looking disaster in the face.
None of the timely hits or aggressive base running would have meant much had not starter Dick Ruthven produced his third straight credible performance. Ruthven allowed the Reds 10 hits, but struck out eight and did not issue a walk in seven innings. Ruthven, who was relieved by Dickie Noles, snapped a personal 11-game losing streak against the Reds and won for only the second time since beating them, 3-0, the first he ever faced them on April 28, 1973.
The Phils began showing renewed authority on the bases early in the game when, with one out and Greg Gross at first, Bowa hit a ground ball to second baseman Junior Kennedy. Gross had been breaking with the pitch, taking away the double play, and hesitated in front of Kennedy just long enough to screen him. Kennedy tried to rush his throw to first, dropped the ball for an error and, an out later, Ruthven punched a two-run single into right field.
"There were a couple balls hit that they (the Reds) made errors on or couldn't get out of their gloves," said Green. "Luckily, we took advantage of their mistakes, which is something we hadn't been doing."
BOWA and Manny Trillo, who played second base for the first time since spraining an ankle April 19, figured in a three-run third that put the game away. It was an inning in which only one run scored as the result of a base hit.
Reds starter Mike LaCoss, trying for the fourth time to win his fourth game, loaded the bases with none out by allowing singles to Bake McBride and Schmidt, and walking Luzinski. Bob Boone followed with a ground ball to third that Ray Knight and Kennedy failed to turn into a double play, McBride scored.
Gross, again starting in center field in place of Garry Maddox, whose ankle is still tender, hit a similarly routine ground ball back to LaCoss. Just as similarly, LaCoss and shortstop Dave Concepcion failed to double Gross, allowing Schmidt to check in with the second run of the inning.
Bowa sent Gross to third with a single to center before Trillo, who would later double Bowa home against reliever Doug Bair, stroked an RBI single to right.
THE REST was up to Ruthven, who at one time this season was 0-2 with a 9.56 earned run average. The righthander's early struggles – he gave up 16 earned runs in 8 innings during three successive starts – were mainly attributed to the off-season elbow surgery he underwent.
Green was the man who advanced the theory that perhaps Ruthven was not throwing hard because he was afraid he would reinjure himself. Ruthven, however, does not agree.
"I was trying too hard early in the season," Ruthven said after lowering his ERA to 5.66. "There were statements made by the coaching staff that it was the opposite, that I wasn't trying hard enough because I was afraid I'd hurt myself. But I think I was just trying too hard."
Whichever it was, Ruthven seems to have conquered it, having permitted five earned runs in his last three starts. "That," said Green, "is more like the Dick Ruthven we know."
THE ROSE most Phillies fans know is not exactly Omar Moreno when it comes to stealing bases. But the first baseman stole second, third and – on a delayed steal with Schmidt – home after reliever Mario Soto walked him to open the seventh.
"I don't think I ever stole three bases in a game," Rose grinned. "But also I have to guess I never tried.”
If Green's policy of aggression continues to hold, there's no doubt Rose – not to mention some others – will be trying to steal a few more bases in the future.
PHIL UPS – McBride has an eight-game hitting streak… Schmidt walked in the seventh to set up the double steal with Rose... Larry Christenson and, probably, Randy Lerch will pitch tomorrow and Wednesday in Atlanta.