Wilmington Evening Journal - June 2, 1980
Walk’s walks help Cubs walk over Phils
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
CHICAGO – Bob Walk's heard all the jokes.
"A million tiroes," said the Phillies' rookie right-hander, whose five walks helped the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory yesterday at Wrigley Field. "Everybody in the stands was giving it to me.
"It was terrible, but it doesn't bother me. Walks bother me more than anything. Home runs don't bother me; it's those damn bases on balls. You can't do anything about home runs, but I can change the bases on balls."
Maybe he should just change his last name... or wish his father had been named Strikeout instead.
Bob Walk wasn't the losing pitcher yesterday. Reliever Ron Reed was, after Dave Kingman singled, was wild-pitched to second and scored on Scot Thompson's single to center in the seventh inning.
Walk lasted 5⅔ innings and allowed a solo homer to Kingman and a two-run, pinch-hit homer by Larry Biittner that gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead and banished Walk to the clubhouse shower before Mike Schmidt's 17th homer tied it in the seventh.
In his major-league debut against Pittsburgh in a memorable Memorial Day game at Veterans Stadium, Walk lasted just 2⅔ innings, walking five, including three in the third inning, before the Phils rallied to win that slugfest.
Those five walks, including three in the third again, were repeated yesterday, although Walk escaped the inning still leading 3-1.
“I felt a little better today," said Walk, who has been up from Oklahoma City for a week now, "but you can't win walking people. I don't have a history of wildness. I walked 64 in 187 innings at Peninsula two years ago and (a league-leading) 77 last year at Reading in 185 innings.
"I don't know what it is. Maybe it's just being up here, though I don't feel nervous consciously. Maybe I'm just trying to do too much. Instead of just going after them, I'm throwing to a spot and finding myself in trouble."
Walk actually got the Phils' three-run third going against the Cubs' Dennis Lamp, singling past first baseman Bill Buckner for only his second professional hit.
"I had a hit for Oklahoma City last year, just like this one," said Walk, who was given the ball he had hit. "Before that, my last hit was in 1974, in high school."
The sheer euphoria' of it all – or Walk's unfamiliarity with the base paths – proved evident after Pete Rose singled Walk to second.
When Bake McBride followed with the Phils' third straight single, a shot to center, Walk headed for third. He obviously was surprised to be waved home by Coach Lee Elia and stumbled around the bag, hellbent for the plate.
"I slowed up at third, stopped and started again, and that screwed me up," said Walk. "I can't remember the last time I had to slide. I decided at the last moment."
Walk's ungainly slide saw him hit the plate knee-first. Overly charitable diving judges would have given it a 2.3, at best.
“The umpire didn't call me safe," smiled Walk. "He just said, 'What the hell's that?' Everybody in the dugout was laughing and I just wanted to get out of there. I was kinda embarrassed."
The Phils got another run when shortstop Ivan DeJesus' error on Schmidt's smash sent Rose home, and McBride scored on Greg Luzlnski's sacrifice fly to left.
"I'm not used to running the bases like that," said Walk. "I don't know what happened."
What happened was that Walk wrapped walks to Lenny Randle and Kingman around a single by DeJesus to load the bases in the Cubs' half of the third. After striking out Mike Vail for the second out, Walk walked Thompson and the Cubs had a run. Steve Ontiveros promptly flied to center.
"He did a good job of holding them to one run," said Phils Manager Dallas Green, who opened his post-game press conference by splattering his spikes against his office wall, blaming himself for a managerial gaff that Green felt led directly to the loss.
Green figured he should have lifted Reed after the wild pitch, bringing in Kevin Saucier to face Scot Thompson. Instead, Green hesitated, Reed faced Thompson and the game was won when the gangly outfielder singled Kingman home.
You witnessed a horsebleep piece of managing!" Green said after putting a shoeshine on the wall with his spikes. "That game's mine, nobody else's! It doesn't Uke any genius to figure that out."
But Green thought Walk had improved over his first start, and should get better.
"He's got good stuff," Green said. "If we can get him a little calmed down on the mound, he'll be OK. We talked a little in the dugout about his approach to the game and be handled it pretty good. It s just inexperience that'll kill you."
Walk felt he was lucky to escape the third after "walking all those people and they got only one run out of it." But he misplaced his lucky horseshoe in the fifth when Kingman homered to left center and lost it when Biittner drilled a two-run shot to the bleachers in right.
"I hung a curve ball to Kingman," said Walk. "Then I threw a horsebleep fastball to Biittner so I wouldn't walk him and he hit it out."
Such is the lot of a young pitcher. But the kid feels he'll be OK.
"Dallas told me to settle down and just go after them," he said. "Instead of the hitters getting me into jams today, I'd get myself into jams. The leadoff hitter got on the first three innings (twice on walks to Randle). You can't win doing that."
Once Bob Walk stop issuing free passes, the victories should come. And the jokes should stop. He can't wait.
EXTRA INNINGS - Bruce Sutter retired ill six men he faced... Schmidt's homer was No. 25 at Wrigley... Randy Lerch vs. Don Robinson of the Pittsburgh Pirates in tonight's 7 35 p m. opener of a three-game set