Philadelphia Inquirer - August 2, 1980
Walk struggles but Phils win, 3-1
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
An evening with Bob Walk is never a trip in the express lane. Walk may be 8-1, but it's probably the most harrowing 8-1 in the history of the game.
Walk pitched the Phillies to within two games of first place last night by beating the Reds, 3-1. But to do it, he had to bear up through more nonstop hot water than Billy Carter.
Every time Walk looked up, he found Reds standing on one base or another, sometimes all of them. He. pitched eight innings, and somebody was on in seven of them. No fewer than 12 of the first 23 Reds who came to bat got on base.
But as accomplished as Walk is at putting them there, he might be better at leaving them there. He got Johnny Bench twice with men in scoring position. He also got Ray Knight twice.
At one point 'or another, he also had to stop Ken Griffey, Dan Driessen and Davey Concepcion. He got them all.
He had to throw 137 pitches to do it. He had to strand 10 runners. He had to have two double plays turned behind him. But somehow he does whatever he has to do. He wishes he knew how he does it himself.
"I don't know," he shrugged. "Maybe I throw better from the stretch or something."
But the ability to pull escape acts is a special one for a pitcher. And Walk, for some reason, has seemed to always have it.
"I know we've recognized it from the beginning in him," said Dallas Green. "He's had that toughness about him. We've known that. It's a quality you can't teach. And it's beautiful."
Green was asked if he could remember any other young pitchers with that same toughness. He smiled as a name came to mind.
"I remember one guy," he said. "But Gene, Mauch never let him pitch." Even though he could have been referring to every member of the '64 Phillies who wasn't named Bunning or Short, popular consensus was that he was talking about a former prospect named Dallas Green.
Drifting back to the present here, Walk's first five innings looked like something he'd copied from The Nolan Ryan Story. Eight hits. Four walks. Thirteen three-ball counts. Zero 1-2-3 innings. And a leisurely 112 adventure-filled pitches.
"I was just wild," he said. "And I found myself getting a little frustrated because I just couldn't get it over the plate."
Home-plate ump Jerry Dale was part of that frustration. Walk thought Dale "missed quite a few pitches." But he blamed himself for that.
"I think it was just my wildness," he said. "He was kind of surprised every time I threw a strike."
It was the first time Walk had ever faced the Reds. And he said he approached them the same way he approaches every team.
"Yeah, I always walk the leadoff hitter in the game," he chuckled.
He not only walked leadoff hitter Dave Collins, he walked three Reds in the first inning. But he survived it because he managed to pick Griffey off first after decoying him with a fake move at the guy on third.
The only run was, fittingly, knocked in by the pitcher, Charlie Leibrandt.
Meanwhile, the Phillies' other faces of the future, Keith Moreland and Lonnie Smith, were again proving to be indispensable offensively.
For five innings, the Phillies barely touched Leibrandt (9-7), whose only win since the Fourth of July was against them (in relief).
But they scratched out one run in the second, starting with a single by Moreland (seven-game hitting streak, 10-for-21).
Then Garry Maddox hit a chopper to short. Concepcion probably could have had the force on Moreland, whose legs have never been mentioned in the same breath with Sebastian Coe's, but went directly to first.
Moreland then scored on the first of two Manny Trillo singles.
Leibrandt then set down 10 of the-next 11 hitters, and the Phillies didn't get another man into scoring position until Smith (42 runs in 57 games) went to work in the sixth.
Smith stroked a one-out single through the left side, and thus began the wait for the nightly Lonnie Smith Olympics.
Nobody was more aware of it than Leibrandt. He made three moves to first, stepped off another time and Smith took off on the 1-1 pitch to Pete Rose anyway. Rose slapped it behind Smith's fumes for a single, and it was first and third for Bake McBride.
"I never could pick up his move," Smith said. "I think they realized I couldn't get a jump on him, and that's why they put the hit-and-run on."
Leibrandt then hit McBride in the right shoulder with a 1-0 pitch. So-that loaded the bases for Mike Schmidt.
Leibrandt did exactly what he didn't want to do on Schmidt. He missed with two breaking balls and had to throw Schmidt a fastball. Schmidt lofted it to medium-deep right for a sacrifice fly and RBI No. 72.
It stayed 2-1 until the eighth. The Phils blew one chance in the seventh, when Larry Bowa fouled off an attempt to squeeze Trillo in from third. (Bowa developed a minor cramp in his calf in the process and had to leave.)
But Smith went right back to work in the eighth. He looped a double to right, moved to third on a Bat Control Special fly ball by Rose and came around on McBride's single through a drawn-in infield.
"Am I surprised? Yeah, I guess," Walk laughed. "But it's not easy. Let me tell you... it's not easy at all."
Schmidt makes lineup
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Mike Schmidt limped off the field Wednesday, Dallas Green figured it was the last time he would see his slugger for a few days.
But when the Phillies lineup was posted last night, there was Schmidt in the No. 4 spot, strained groin or no strained groin.
"He's not 100 percent," Green said before the game. "But it's no worse than his hamstring (pull) was, and he was able to play then. We're going to watch him pretty closely, though."
Green said that meant no undue running – i.e., no more stealing home for a while.
NOTES: Phillies hitters in July: Moreland .447, Aviles .394, McBride .354, Trillo .337, Smith .337, Gross .333, Rose .307, Maddox .276, Unser .263, Schmidt .231, Boone .218, Bowa .200, G. Vukovich .200, J. Vukovich .179, Luzinski .158.... Pitchers in July. McGraw 0-0, 0.00; Saucier 2-1, 1.80; Walk 4-1. 2.61; Ruthven 4-2, 3.06; Larson 0-2, 3.38; Carlton 3-2, 3.40; Espinosa 1-2, 3 71; Reed 0-2. 4.91; Noles 0-0, 6.55, Lerch 1-2, 7.27; LaGrow 0-0, 9.00.... In June, Mike Schmidt's 15 RBIs were enough to lead the club. Schmidt had 15 again in July and was fourth, as Maddox had 20, Rose 18, McBride 18.... Tom Seaver says he is ready to pitch. So the Reds will activate him this weekend and start him Monday against the Padres. Seaver probably will take the place of Frank Pastore, who was placed on the disabled list last night with an irritated finger tendon. ... But Bill Bonham's shoulder woes refuse to go away. Bonham was supposed to be the Reds' starting pitcher last night, but he had to scratch. Bonham had elbow surgery last year, then hurt his shoulder while favoring the elbow. He was on the disabled list for two months and since then has made only one start, last Saturday against the Mets.... Scott Munninghoff (3-5) threw his second straight complete-game win for Oklahoma City.... Steve Carlton vs. Mike LaCoss (5-9, 5.20, 141 hits in 109 innings) tonight.