Wilmington Evening Journal - June 16, 1980

Green confident Phillie pitching is good enough


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Dallas Green cast vote for the lame and the afflicted yesterday.'The lame and afflicted members of hit pitching staff, that is.


The Phillies' manager repeated that his current cast can win the National League East title. Maybe his hopes wert buoyed by the Phils' third straight victory over the hapless San Diego Padres at Veterans Stadium, an 8-5 decision behind rookie Bob Walk and reliever Lerrin LaGrow.


Whatever, Green said he wasn't worried by the fact that the Phillies hadn't acquired another starter before last night's trading deadline, a priority that seemed to weigh more heavily with fans and media than Green himself.


"I'm confident that this team is capable of winning and confident that the people we have here are capable of producing that winning," Green said as the team prepared to leave for a week-long West Coast trip that begins tonight in Los Angeles.


"These guys have to do it between the white lines. Right now we’re patchwork in pitching, but with a couple guys grinding it out, I think we'll be OK. That's why you have to give Bob Walk a lot of credit for what he did today."


What Walk did was eliminate his first-inning jitters and last five innings to earn his second major-league victory against no losses. The Phils had a 7-1 lead when Walk left, which helped considerably.


"Bob Is getting better with each outing." said Green. "He's keeping his stuff under control and he's just finally getting a little calmer, a little more sure of himself. That will help him some."


With Steve Carlton the Phils' only mealticket while Randy Lerch struggles with his bead and breaking ball – to say nothing of his 3-8 record and the team's apparent lack of confidence in him – Green is forced to rely on Walk, who was called up from Oklahoma City when Larry Christenson was sidelined for the season with elbow surgery.


"Bob has to come through for us because we don't have anybody else." Green said. "That puts a lot of pressure on him. We didn't feel he was ready in spring training and maybe we rushed him by bringing him up now, but we hope he can do it.


"He has enough stuff. It's poise and demeanor and becoming a pitcher that he needed to work on. He’ll get his lessons up here, unfortunately... or fortunately. I hope he learns them well... and quickly."


Pete Rose thinks Walk is on his way to the head of the class.


''Walk's letting better and better," said Rose, who doubled and was on base three times. "He was too nervous his first time out and too slow in Chicago. But he throws well."


Rose, like Green, wasn't pushing for a panic trade of youngsters Lonnie Smith or Keith Moreland for a question-mark pitcher.


"You shouldn't make changes just to make changes," said Rote. "The team (Montreal) that's 2 games ahead in our division started a guy from Double A two days ago and a guy from Triple A today. Doesn't sound like their pitching is too hot.


"Nobody in this division has an overabundance of pitching. Nobody in baseball does."


As for dispatching Smith or Moreland, who caught yesterday's game and had two hits, Rose shook his head.


'Their potential is too great to give up for somebody that might come up with a sore arm, like Ed Halickl," he said. Then Rose looked across the room where Lerch was dressing.


"With our staff, Randy's got to be the key," said the man with more hits than only four men in baseball history. "I hate to put pressure on him but, if be stays in the rotation, he's got to win. He doesn't have to win 20 games or even 15. If he's five games over .500, we should win the division."


Lerch will get his chance to earn back the team's confidence when he starts against Dodger left-hander Jerry Reuss tonight at 10:13 in Dodger Stadium.


Tomorrow night Green will reluctantly hand the ball to Dickie Noles. Green thinks Noles' niche is in the bullpen, but he has little choice about starting Noles until Dick Ruthven's braised shoulder heals.


The Phils bruised ex-teammate Rick Wise quickly yesterday, dispelling any wistfulness the right-hander may have had about Father's Day. It was on Father's Day. 1964, in fact, that Wise earned his first major-league victory, beating the New York Mets 8-2 In Shea Stadium.


Few people remember that, of course, because Jim Banning pitched a perfect game in the first game of that double-header and Wise was left to pitch to a dumbfounded team while the town's media swamped Bunning.


Sixteen years later, Wise again was forgotten in the shadow of the Padres' pathetic play. San Diego hat lost seven straight games, 10 of 11 and 16 of 17. Wise is only 3-4 but he aggravated a hyperextended knee yesterday on Bob Walk's first major-league RBI on a second-inning single to right It was that kind of a day for Rick Wise.


The Phils scored twice la the first inning on Greg Luzlnskl's RBI single and Moreland's sacrifice fly. Walk's hit made it 3-0 in the second, and a bases-loaded walk to Luzinski sent Wise hobbling to the showers.


The Phils added three unearned runs off Dennis Kinney in the fifth.


San Diego got three runs off Walk and added two more in the ninth off LaGrow, who got his first save with the Phillies.


EXTRA INNINGS - Wise s last appearance vs. the Phils came on the final day of the 1973 season when be beat Jim Lonborg 1-1 as a St Louis reliever... Padre Manager Jerry Coleman was ejected in the sixth for arguing umpire Lanny Harris' ball-and-strike calls... Greg Luzinski has hit in nine straight games and Bake McBride eight... Phils are now 3-7 on Sundays... 31,379 Cap Day fans pushed the Phils over the million mark on the third-earliest date (33 games) in club history.