Wilmington Morning News - June 16, 1980
Walk’s win encourages Phillies
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA – Bob Walk's baptism under major-league fire continued yesterday and the Phillies' right-hander ran his record to 2-0 with an 8-5 victory to sweep the San Diego Padres.
Walk only lasted five innings on a muggy afternoon, but Manager Dallas Green was happy with what he saw in Walk's fifth major-league start.
"Bob's getting better with each outing," said Green as the Phils dressed for a flight to Los Angeles and a week-long Coast trip. "His stuff's getting better and he's just finally getting a little calmer, a little more sure of himself. That will help him some."
And the Phillies helped Walk by hammering Rick Wise and the hapless Padres for four runs in the first two innings, then hanging on as the Padres pecked away at Lerrin LaGrow, who got his first save with 3.1 innings of relief.
Green knows there is a lot of pressure on Walk, especially with the Phils hoping to rebuild their aching starting rotation from within, now that the trading deadline has passed without incident.
"Bob has to come through for us because we don't have anybody else," said Green. "That puts a lot of pressure on him. We felt he wasn't ready in spring training and we may have rushed him a bit bringing him up now. We just hope he can do it.
"He has enough stuff. It's poise and demeanor and becoming a pitcher that he needed to work on. Now he's got to learn that up here, unfortunately... or fortunately. I hope he learns his lessons well – and quickly."
Green remains confident that the current cast – with a possible boost from either starter Nino Espinosa or reliever Warren Brusstar, who begin 20-day minor-league rehabilitation programs today – should be enough to carry the Phils to the division title.
"I'm confident that this team is capable of winning and confident that the people we have here are capable of producing that winning," said Green, who hadn't put much stock in acquiring another pitcher.
If Wise had any lingering Father's Day memories – like his first major-league victory at Shea Stadium on Father's Day, 1964, in the second game of the double-header in which Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game – the Phils made short work of them.
In the first inning, Bake McBride came back from a four-game bout with a sore throat by singling and stealing second. Mike Schmidt walked and Greg Luzinski singled to center, scoring McBride and sending Schmidt to third. Keith Moreland's sacrifice fly got him home.
Wise didn't survive the second inning. Larry Bowa led off with a single and stole second. Walk lined a single over second baseman Dave Cash, part of the Padres' drawn-in infield, for his first major-league RBI.
Wise aggravated an already-hyperextended knee on Walk's hit, which didn't help matters much.
Pete Rose, on base through catcher's interference, was forced on McBride's grounder but Schmidt walked again to load the bases.
When Wise walked Luzinski to force home a run, Padre Manager Jerry Coleman waved in Dennis Kinney, who got Moreland on an inning-ending grounder.
"Walk's getting better and better," said Rose. "It was hot today and he threw a lot of pitches, but he did okay. He was too nervous his first time out, then he was too slow in Chicago. But he's done better since then. He throws well."
The Padres bunched three singles in the third for their first run, then strung together three more singles to KO Walk in the sixth. But by that time the Phillies were leading 7-1, courtesy of three unearned runs in the fifth.
Moreland started the rally with a double over third and scored when third baseman Tim Flannery threw Garry Maddox' infield single past first for an error.
Maddox went to second on the throwing error and to third on Bowa's groundout. Manny Trillo, who'd been intentionally walked, broke for second and catcher Bill Fahey thought he might catch Maddox napping at third.
However, it was Flannery who was in a daze and Fahey's throw skipped off his glove and rolled into foul territory as both runners scored.
Green went to his bullpen in the sixth to preserve the victory for Walk, who will play an increasingly prominent role in the starting rotation with Dick Ruthven sidelined for at least one start with a bruised shoulder.
Kevin Saucier got two men out and LaGrow finished the game, giving up two runs in the ninth on Flannery's bloop single. But Green was pleased.
"Lerrin's pitched a lot better his last few times out," said the manager, who may be forced to make Dickie Noles a starter while Ruthven recovers.
"We're hurting enough that I'm doing something I don't want to do. I think relief is Dickie's niche. With Nino and Bru, I think we'll be all right."
That's when they get back. In the meantime it's Steve Carlton, Randy Lerch, Walk and a prayer. With the way Walk responded yesterday, Dallas Green thanked heaven for minor miracles.
EXTRA INNINGS - Wise's last appearance vs. the Phils came on the final day of the 1973 season when he beat Jim Lonborg 3-1 as a St. Louis reliever... Padre Manager Coleman was ejected in the sixth for arguing umpire Lanny Harris' ball-and-strike calls... Luzinski has hit in nine straight games and McBride in eight... Padres have lost seven straight, 10 of 11 and 16 of 19... Phils are now 3-7 on Sundays.