Gerry Arrigo, making his first start of the season for the Reds, tossed a five-hit shutout against the Mets, April 29, at Crosley Field. Yet, after the first two weeks of May, Arrigo still hasn’t been back on the mound – not even in a relief role. It’s a tipoff on just how good and how deep the Red pitching is.
Red hurlers sported a gaudy combined earned-run average of 1.97 entering a May 14 doubleheader with the Phillies. “Mel Queen and Gary Nolan have given me my biggest thrill this season,” said Red Manager Dave Bristol. “If they hadn’t come through, we might have had to trade away good players to get pitching.” And, by not having been forced to trade, the Reds have wound up with one of the league’s strongest benches. “Just think,” remarked Red coach Ray Shore, “we’ve had two regulars out for a week and we’re 13 games over .500.” Tommy Helms, the Reds’ second baseman, was nursing a broken big toe on his right foot and Deron Johnson suffered a pulled hamstring. With Johnson sidelined, Tony Perez, who opened the season at first base, moved to third. Rookie Lee May took over at first base. Bristol probably chuckles when he remembers how many times he was asked the question this spring – “What are you going to do with two right-handed hitting first baseman like May and Perez?” Handyman Chico Ruiz took over second base in Helms’ absence.
Vada Pinson also missed some time in the first two weeks of May with a strained muscle behind his right knee. Floyd Robinson and Dick Simpson platooned in the outfield as a replacement for Pinson.