Wilmington Morning News - May 1, 1980

Met rookie Bomback baffles Phils again


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


NEW YORK - Dallas Green kept the media waiting last night. He decided to shave before fielding reporters' questions and it can be reported he did not slash his throat.


No one would have been surprised if Green let the razor slip, though. He had just watched his Phillies fall flat on their faces to the lowly New York Mets 2-0 in the dump that is Shea Stadium.


And to make matters worse, that same rookie pitcher who stuck it to them at the Vet last week did it again last night. Right-hander Mark Bomback allowed just two hits as he upped his record to 2-0 with his first major-league shutout.


Randy Lerch suffered his third setback in as many decisions but, in fairness to the left-hander, he pitched well. Lerch, who allowed only four hits over seven innings, made a crucial mistake in the fourth inning and it cost him the only run he would give up in the game which ended in a steady rain.


The Mets scored an unearned run in the ninth off reliever Dickie Noles when Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa made errors on routine plays.


Catcher John Stearns led off the, fourth with a double to left-center. Greg Luzinski made a good play on the ball and almost threw Stearns out at second.


Stearns moved to third on an infield out and up came Dan Norman. Lerch jumped ahead 1-2, then shook off catcher Bob Boone before delivering his next pitch. It was a hanging slider and Norman ripped it through the middle as Stearns easily scored.


"It was a mental and physical mistake on my part," said Lerch. "Boonie called for a fastball in and I shook him off. I hadn't thrown a good slider all night, but I thought he was set up for that pitch.


"I had gotten ahead of him with two fastballs in and something else away, so it was 1-2. He was set up for something in, something hard in. He's a fastball hitter, so I figured if I make a mistake with my fastball, he's going to hit it. It was stupid thinking on my part."


Green tried to defend his pitcher, saying the pitch selection was not that bad.


"Norman is a dead-fastball hitter," said the manager. "Randy had gotten ahead with fastballs and that obviously is what Norman was looking for. It was just a bad slider. Any time you hang a slider, it's a bad pitch.”


Even if Lerch had escaped that situation, the Phils still would have been scratching against the 27-year-old Bomback, who bounced around the minors for nine years before finally making it to the varsity. He was 22-7 at Vancouver of the American Association in 1979, a record that earned him an award as minor league player of the year. He was presented that just before he walked to the mound last night.


"I had a better fastball tonight than I did in Philadelphia last Wednesday," he said. "My breaking pitch was good, but I was pleased with my fastball."


"He kept us off-balance," said Green. "You have to give him some credit. He pitched a good ball game, but we are making good pitchers out of a lot of people so far this year."


Pete Rose refused to praise the rookie.


"We had some good swings at him," said Rose. "The hardest balls we hit were hit at people and it seemed like we popped a lot up."


The best chances for the Phils came in the sixth and eighth innings. In the sixth, Luis Aguayo and Lerch opened with walks. Rose blasted Bomback's first pitch back to shortstop Frank Taveras, who quickly turned it into a doubleplay.


With two down in the eighth and the rain falling, pinch-hitter Del Unser walked and Rose waited out a pass. Bomback shrugged off that threat by getting Bake McBride to ground out.


EXTRA POINTS - Nino Espinosa tested his ailing shoulder by pitching batting practice last night. The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since the last day of spring training, was encouraged. Green, however, said it will be at least two weeks before Nino is ready to return to active duty... Manny Trillo is limping as much as he was the day he sprained his right ankle in Montreal. Trillo is eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend but probably will not be ready... Rose has yet to strike out this season... When Maddox stole second in the seventh, he moved past Tony Taylor into seventh place on the Phillies' all-time list Garry now has 137 steals... After 15 games last year, the Phils were 11-4... Steve Carlton goes against Pete Falcone tonight.