Philadelphia Daily News - May 1, 1980
Bomback Baffles Phils Again
By Bill Conlin
NEW YORK – The Mets obtained Mark Bomback last Oct. 26. a black day, it turns out, in Phillies history. They got him from Milwaukee for Dwight Bernard, whoever he was.
Bomback is a 27-year-old rookie righthander. His major league pedigree was based on two 1978 appearances with the Brewers after which his ERA for two innings pitched was 16.20. Even though Bomback broke through at Vancouver with a 22-7 record last summer, the pitcher-poor Brewers didn't bother to call him up in September.
Bomback has now taken two steps toward the Hall of Fame. His major league career record is 2-0. Guess the identity of the team he has beaten twice already and you get to sit in on Dallas Green's next team meeting.
Bomback beat the Phillies. 2-0. at Shea last night, blanked 'em on two harmless singles spaced four innings apart, walked six. three in the last four innings.
MARK BOMBACK. Unbelievable!
"Blame the offense, we're not hitting." said Mike Schmidt. Captain Patience. "We've got to ride it out, it's no time for panic. Somewhere along the line well pound some pitchers. This guy tonight was throwing pitches we've pounded all year. It's a shame to get a good game pitched out of Blade and not get him any runs."
"Blade" is Randy Lerch. The Phillies have scored one run for him his last two starts. He and Steve Carlton have been the only two reasons the pitching staff has not been written off as a total disaster. The offense can ill afford to go out to lunch on Randy's day to pitch.
"You guys are going to be writing about our pitching problems, our hitting problems," Schmidt said correctly. "Fans are going to read that stuff, panic, start writing us off. Hey, get all the bleep out of our game by mid-May, then all fall into a groove and start smoking some teams. Even if we play bad we can play.500 ball until we get it going."
Green ran a spring training camp dedicated to the proposition that the time to get it going was April 11. When guys were doing drills until they were ready to drop it was hard to visualize the Phillies coming off the line like a drag racer with two flat tires.
"WE MADE GOOD pitchers out of a lot of people so far this year," Green said. "I didn't see any impatience – hell, we had six walks. We just didn't hit the ball. And balls we hit were right at people. The guy pitched a pretty good ballgame, no question of that. I don't know what to tell Randy. What he should have gotten out of it is that he's throwing well again and if he keeps pitching like that he's bound to win. We're too good a ballclub. We re not going to go day after day getting two hits and no runs."
Lerch can hardly wait until mid-May, when the line drives start flashing off those revitalized bats. And the Phillies certainly proved the Schmidt theory can be valid for long stretches last season by playing below.500 ball after roaring to a 21-7 record. When the club gets into a groove it can struggle along at.500 with the best of them.
"We can't hit him, so I guess the guy has pretty good stuff." Larry Bowa grumbled. "He must be a good pitcher, or we're that bad. I can't say anything bad about the guy – he's stuck it up our butts twice."
The Mets got the run they needed in the fourth when catcher John Stearns led off with his eighth double of the season. He went to third on an infield out by Jerry Morales and scored on a single to center by leftfielder Dan Norman. The hit was dedicated to Danny Ozark, coming on the kind of sloppy 0-2 pitch that used to drive the former manager up the wall.
"I CANT FAULT the pitch selection," Green said. "It was an off-speed curve and the guy's a stone fastball hitter. It's the kind of pitch you want to make good enough to strike him out and with a runner on third that was what Randy was trying to do. Unfortunately, the pitch was a very poor one."
Garry Maddox led off the seventh with the final hit off Bomback. a single to center. He stole second and stood there while Bomback threw a ground ball to Schmidt, popped up Greg Luzinski and struck out Bob Boone. The Phillies' offense was so feeble, in fact, that the Mets had only two outfield putouts.
Luzinski walked leading off the fifth and Boone bounced into a double play. Luis Aguayo and Lerch walked with nobody out in the sixth and Bomback fed Pete Rose a double-play ball. Del Unser and Rose walked with two outs in the eighth and Bake McBride, back in the lineup, grounded out to second.
It was not Murderer's Row revisited.
"Mark didn’t have a good spring," Joe Torre said, "so we just followed our scouting reports on him. that he was not a good spring pitcher, and took him north. I thought he had a better fastball tonight than he did in Philly. He throws a lot of ground balls and a ground-ball pitcher has a good chance to win in this park.
Bomback said it's always a thrill to beat a good ballclub.
Imagine how happy hell be when he finally gets around to beating one.
PHILUPS: The Mets now play records over the PA system between innings they are a lot less expensive than Jane Jarvis. When Frank Sinatra crooned "Strangers in the Night," somebody asked if that was the new Mets theme song... Crowd was 4,559. In the old days, they used to have that many arrests during a night game with a contender... The Phils' normally impeccable infield defense let down in the eighth. The Mets made it 2-0 on back-to-back errors by Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa. The last two innings were played in rain... Elliott Maddox has become a more than capable third baseman. The converted outfielder has a strong arm, good range and makes all the plays.... John Stearns collected a pair of doubles and leads the league with nine... This time last year the Phils were 11-4... Pete Rose has not struck out in 62 at-bats... Steve Carlton vs. Pete Falcone tonight, then Phils go home to face the streaking Dodgers.
3 Win Tickets
There were three winners last night in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest. In the fifth inning of the Phillies-Mets game Ike McKnight of Bellmawr. N.J., Edward M. Dixon and Mildred Jorden, both of Philadelphia, each won four tickets to a Phillies game.
So far the Daily News has paid out $2,775.
Today entry coupon appears on Page 71.