Wilmington Evening Journal - May 12, 1980

‘The real Ruthven’ beats Reds


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


CINCINNATI – Dallas Green didn't even hesitate. "Dick Ruthven's back," the Phillies' manager said. "Yep, that was the real Dick Ruthven you saw out there today."


In another cubicle of the dressing room, Dick Ruthven was saying the same thing.


"I'm close to where I was last year," the righthander said. "It's a good feeling. The encouraging thing is I know I am going to get better. Today, though, I felt great."


Ruthven, expected to be the right-handed ace of a question-mark pitching staff, worked seven strong innings yesterday as the Phils defeated Cincinnati 7-3 in the snakepit that is Riverfront Stadium.


Although Ruthven allowed 10 hits, he spaced them well. He struck out eight batters and did not walk any. Even last year when he was jumping out to a 6-0 record, he never had eight punchouts in one game.


And to make the day even more rewarding for him, he singled in the Phils' first two runs against loser Mike LaCoss.


When Ruthven lost to St Louis 10-1 on April 27, his record dipped to 1-2 and his earned run average loomed to 9.56. His fastball looked like something in a slow-pitch softball league.


"He had no velocity," said Green. "He's just not popping the ball. He's concerned about it and so am I. We have to get him back on the track."


Against the Dodgers on May 2, Ruthven pitched six strong innings and was not involved in the decision. He followed that up by winning his last two starts.


"I think the fact he has put together three solid starts proves he is back," said Green. "I wouldn't feel the way I do if he had just pitched well in one."


It was on May 9, 1979 that Ruthven pitched a one-hitter at San Diego. That gave him his 6-0 record, but it was also the last time he would complete a game.


Elbow miseries caused by bone chips began to bother him and twice he was placed on the disabled list before having surgery in September. He did not pitch after Aug. 8.


"I think it takes more time to come back from something like that than I realized it would," said Ruthven. "If we had had the final games in spring training, I would probably have been closer to where I am now.


"I also think I was trying too hard. I would get frustrated and over-throw. The thing about today's game was the fact it took very little effort to throw the balL When I am going well, it's almost effortless."


"His fastball was really popping today and he had a good change," said catcher Bob Boone. "He didn't walk anybody, so that tells you something about his control."


"A pitcher loves to work when he has several pitches going for him," said Ruthven. "In some of the early starts, they (batters) were sitting on my fastball."


The victory was only the second for Ruthven over the Reds and ended an 11-game losing streak to them. He beat them 1-0 on April 28, 1973.


"This team has been tough on me," he said. "It's about time I got one on them."


With two down in the second and runners on second and third, Ruthven singled to right. The Phils sent eight batters to the plate in the third, with Boone, Greg Gross and Manny Trillo driving in runs.


Pete Rose scored the sixth run when he walked, then stole three bases, including home plate on a delayed steal. The last time a member of the Phils stole home was Jose Cardenal on Aug. 8, 1978 against San Diego's Bob Owchlnko.


EXTRA POINTS - Schmidt has hit safely in 10 of 11 games, while McBride has an eight-game hitting streak... Phils' pinch hitters are 12 for their last 22 at-bats... The Reds' Dave Collins and Kim Davis of Dayton will be married tonight... The Reds had beaten the Phils 28 times in the last 35 regular-season games played at Riverfront before yesterday... Garry Maddox sat out his second straight game after returning to the lineup on Friday night The ankle he sprained on May 3 was bothering him a little yesterday... The Phils left after the game for Atlanta... Today is an open date, but Green has a workout planned for the afternoon during which Nino Espinosa will pitch in a simulated game... Larry Christenson will work the first fame of the twosome against the Braves, facing Doyle Alexander. Green is undecided who will pitch Wednesday against Larry McWilliams... On Thursday, the Phils play an exhibition game at Oklahoma City, then continue on to Houston for three weekend games.