Philadelphia Daily News - August 2, 1980
Phils Walk and Run to Victory
By Dick Weiss
This was not one of Bob Walk's better performances and he was the first one to admit it.
But the Phillies young righthander discovered this morning that he is 8-1 and walking on a cloud into uncharted territory reserved solely for serious Rookie of the Year candidates.
If nothing else, Walk showed an instinct for survival last night during a 3-1 victory over the suddenly anemic Cincinnati Reds before a crowd of 37.409 at the Vet. Walk gave up 10 hits over eight innings. He worked 15 three-ball counts and threw 89 pitches in the first four innings alone.
But each time he got into a jam, Walk managed to battle his way out. "He hasn't folded on us yet," Dallas Green said. "And he certainly has had a lot of opportunities to do just that, especially for a young pitcher. He's made the 3-1, 3-2 pitches he's had to make. And that's a quality you can't teach. It's something that is in him. And I'm damn glad it is.
"Up to now, he's been a tough rascal."
WALK IS ONLY 23. In many ways, he is still shaking the dust off after being called up from Oklahoma City in May. "This is still like a dream come true," he says.
The Reds are probably wishing someone would pinch him. Walk flirted with disaster more times than a subway rider at midnight, putting two men on in the first and second innings, loading the bases in the third then giving up three hits in the fourth.
But the most the Reds could nick him for was a single run when rookie second baseman Ron Oester tripled to deep center in the fourth and scored on a single by pitcher Charlie Leibrandt. Walk began to settle down after that, showing the stamina that could make him a key factor as the Phils try to throw a blanket over themselves, Pittsburgh and Montreal in National League East.
Right now, the Expos and Pirates are in a virtual tie for first, with the Phillies two games back. But the Phillies, with Steve Carlton pitching against Mike LaCoss tonight, could tighten the race a little before the weekend is over, provided they stay relatively healthy at key positions.
Walk has been a godsend to a damaged pitching staff, winning his first six games after being recalled from the minors. The control problems he suffered at Reading last year when he led the Eastern League in walks started to surface in the first inning, though, when he walked three batters. Walk got a break when he hung up Ken Griffey between first and second base, then bailed himself out of a two-out, two-on jam by getting Dan Driessen on a fly to left.
IN THE THIRD inning. Walk loaded the bases and had to face John Bench in a two-out situation. After running a 3-1 count, he threw a fastball past the Reds' power-hitting catcher for a strike then fed him a high slider that Bench bounced back to short for an easy force.
"Even though I was pretty horsebleep in terms of my wildness, every once in a while 1 throw a good pitch and bail myself out." Walk said. "That there was pretty much luck, when you're making so many bad pitches, to mix in a good one.
"I was getting a little frustrated a couple times in the first few innings because I wasn't able to get the ball over the plate. But, I don't know, I was able to calm myself down and just say, The hell with it." If I was going to get taken out in the third inning, I was going to get taken out. But I was going to give 100 percent."
That is what is so refreshing about the new blood on this team. The Walks, the Keith Morelands and the Lonnie Smiths all have some Pete Rose in them in the fact that they are all intense competitors who approach every game as a new adventure. If only their unbridled enthusiasm would rub off on some of the more jaded veterans who now see a definite class distinction between themselves and the media in this town.
THE FLEET-FOOTED Smith, who had two hits and raised his average back to .349, helped manufacture both the winning, and insurance runs last night He led off the sixth inning with a single to left, then scored from third after the Phils loaded the bases and Mike Schmidt lofted a high sacrifice fly to right. Then, in the eighth. Smith doubled down the right-field line, moved to third on a fly by the pesky Rose then scored on a single by Bake McBride up the middle.
McBride's RBI was his 62d of the season, a career high, and enough of an achievement to merit a standing ovation from the crowd. Yes, Shake and Bake tried to shake and bake the press afterward, hiding out in the showers far more than 40 minutes. When the rightfielder, who had two hits and raised his average to a glittering .318, finally emerged, he admitted that this is all new to him.
"I've never had a streak like this," McBride said. "Not even in stickball. My basic feeling each time I go up is that I'm going to get a hit. But now, I must admit that my confidence level is higher than ever. The thing is, 1 could go 0-for-4 tomorrow and lose it. That's why you never know."
The Reds only wish they bad McBride's problems. In the last three games, Cincinnati has scored only 3 runs, getting 26 hits and leaving 28 men stranded. Last night, they marooned 10 runners and never posed a threat in the ninth when reliever Tug McGraw washed out the side for his 10th save, striking out pinch-hitter Hector Cruz, getting leadoff man Dave Collins to fly to right and then forcing Ray Knight to pop to first.
PHILUPS: Keith Moreland extended his hitting streak to seven games when he singled to center in the second... Bill Bonham was scheduled to start for the Reds but had beg off because of soreness in his right shoulder... Larry Bowa bunted the ball off his right calf trying to squeeze home Manny Trillo in the seventh and had to be replaced by Ramon Aviles... The Phils got their first run in the second when Moreland singled, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Tnllo.
So Far, Phils Surviving Sick Call
By Ted Silary
Two-plus months remain in the baseball campaign and the Phillies are two games in 1 arrears to both the Expos and Pirates in NL East.
Now, if the minor injuries would stop appearing at the rate of one per game, a fan could really get excited.
In the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 6-4 win over Houston. Mike Schmidt pulled a muscle in his right groin while romping from first to third on a single. And in the seventh inning of last night's 3-1 win over Cincinnati. Larry Bowa tried to squeeze home Manny Trillo and bunted the ball, instead, off his right calf.
We shudder while asking what's next.
Will a foul tip strip Bob Boone of two well-manicured fingernails? Will a seed to first catch a seam and break Pete Rose's nose? For that matter, will Manager Dallas Green tumble out of his chair while making out the lineup, thus stabbing himself with a pencil to bring on a case of blood poisoning?
"AS LONG AS our injuries are nickel-and-dime stuff, nothing that really puts a player out for a long period of time, we should be OK," said trainer Don Seger, who suddenly ranks high among the most-quoted Phillies. "When you get those big ones, that's what kills a team.
"Larry (Christenson) has been out for a while and Bull (Greg Luzinski) could be out for a while, but... " – Seger taps leather on training table – "... we haven't had any crushers."
At this point of the season, almost every regular starter on every team in the majors is hobbled by one nagging hurt or another. The trick is, bear it as much as you swear it.
Take that ever-accessible media favorite Bake McBride, for instance.
As it turns out, Bake's total number of base hits per 1,000 at-bats (now.318) is not the only average that has experienced a dramatic rise. You check out his post-game icepack average lately?
"I'm up to four," moaned McBride, who playfully fired a chunk of soap from the showers at one media type awaiting his exit. "Two for my knees, one for my hip, one for my shoulder. Hey, it's a chore just getting dressed.
"To tell you the truth, if I wasn't hitting so well, I might not even be going out there. It would help to get a day or two of rest and you'll notice that The Man (Green) is trying to give me a rest here and there in the late innings. And if I did go into a slump, I wouldn't mind a whole lot if I did get yanked for a short period of time."
THE LATEST UPDATE from Seger Central shows that Schmidt is one day deep into a four or five-day caution period.
Mike was replaced at third base by John Vukovich for the seventh inning and it was announced that he'd "felt a twinge" while gloving a Dave Concepcion chopper in the fourth.
"Schmitty made it through the night all right," Seger said. "He had to bow out early, but he felt he did not do anything to set it back. We got out of it what we wanted and we're thankful. We'll just hope for a repeat tomorrow."
Meanwhile, the likes of Vukovich and Ramon Aviles, who filled in for Bowa, are ready for emergency situations, though not exactly raring.
"It is nice to get playing time," noted Vukovich, who has played every infield position during a gut-it-out career not based much on hitting. "Yet, I'd rather get in when we're way ahead. That's more fun for everyone.
"Most nights, I work extra hard before the game because that's one way to stay in shape. But tonight, I had the feeling that Mike might need some relief, so I made sure not to tire myself out too much. We had the lead. Mike was not moving too well and Dallas decided to get him out of there."
"You're always going to have your little nagging injuries," said Pete Rose. "A cherry from a slide, a bruise from a hit-by-pitch. You just try to come back in the next game and get the job done. If you can't, you hope that the subs can do it. In our case, the subs have been doing it.
"THOSE PLAYERS breaking up double plays, the players trying to complete double plays, the catchers. They all feel it pretty good about now. But that's part of the game."
Two Phillies presently not a part of the game are Christenson and Luzinski.
Christenson, the towering yet brittle righi-hander, was placed on the disabled list for 60 days retroactive to May 26, due to an operation for removal of bone chips in his elbow. Previously, Larry was 3-0 in 254 innings wiih an ERA (6.23) that you would expect from some one 0-3.
In ‘79, he got a late start due to that celebrated bicycle mishap and was 5-10 with a 4.50 KKA He missed time in August with a groin pull and was operated on in September for bone spurs in his collarbone.
Other than that, LC has been the perfect picture of health.
"Larry has been throwing on schedule," Seger noted. "In fact, he was hoping to throw against a few hitters in batting practice but with the threat of rain, we decided not to let him. One of these days – and I can't say when – Dallas, Herm Starrette, Dr. (Phillip) Marone and I will get together and the verdict will be made.
"HE'S APPROACHING the safe point, when we don't feel he'd hurt himself."
And how about The Bull? Ah, we thought you would never ask, especially since Lonnie Smith is performing so well.
"The pain is starting to leave Bull's knee and we are starting to work him out a little harder," Seger reported. "It is not even one week after surgery, so it is way too early to make any guesses about when hell be back. In two weeks, we can make an observation and say, 'He's ahead of schedule, he's behind schedule, or he's right on schedule.'"
Speaking of being on schedule, here's hoping that tonight's little mishap just kind of forgets to take place.
After all, even in the spacious Vet, the training room is only so big.
J.R.’s Comeback Chances Improve
HOUSTON (UPI) – It began with a frightening collapse, followed by emergency surgery, followed by some anxious waiting. But the latest news out of Houston is that the major leagues may not yet have seen the last of J.R. Richard.
Doctors said yesterday that the Houston Astros All-Star pitcher had gained strength in his partially paralyzed left arm and leg, encouraging them to tell his family his chances of playing again had improved.
"His condition has been upgraded from stable to improved," Astros spokesman Rick Rivers said.
Richard's father, Clayton Richard, reached bv telephone in Louisiana, said he received word from doctors Thursday night his son "got to where he could move that left arm and leg.
"MY SON (LAMAR) told me the doctors told him if that paralyzed condition leaves him he will probably be able to pitch again," the elder Richard said.
A stroke felled the 6-8, 237-pound righthander Wednesday, and a partial paralysis caused by decreased blood flow to the right side of his brain was reported to have left Richard's left side weakened.
Doctors said the weakness might be the result of fluid buildup and therefore temporary, but his father said, "J R. won't pitch again this year."
Neither doctors nor the Astros have issued any official prognosis on the 30-year-old Richard. The Astros scheduled a news conference Monday, explaining that by then doctors expected to know if the "weakness" was permanent.
Late Wednesday night, nine hours after Richard collapsed at the Astrodome, surgeons removed a life-threatening blood clot in a neck artery supplying blood to the pitcher’s brain.
TEAM PHYSICIAN Dr. Harold Brelsford indicated the blood clot must have formed sometime between Friday, July 25, when a test for blood clots proved negative, and Richard's collapse five days later.
Brelsford said the blood clot test was part of an exhaustive four-day physical exam given him by the club at Methodist Hospital.
After finishing the series of tests at the hospital, Richard was released to begin pitching Tuesday, and less than half an hour into his first light workout Wednesday he collapsed.
"There are a lot of factors in this case that are strange medically," Brelsford said.
He also said Richard responded to bedside visitors Thursday.
Richard led the major leagues with 313 strikeouts last year. He had 119 and a 10-4 record this year before arm problems forced him onto the disabled list July 16.