Nolan Blanks Phillies in Season Debut

Filed under Cincinnati Reds
May 31, 1968

Gary Nolan's first start of the season, a two-hit twelve strikeout win, gives Reds' fans a source of optimism in an otherwise forgettable season in Cincinnati.
Gary Nolan had warned Johnny Bench before the game. “Get me some hits tonight or you’ll be sleeping in the hall,” Nolan told the rookie Red catcher. “It’s a good think I did pitch,” added a grinning Gary. “Because after the night Johnny had, I would not have been able to talk to him.” In his first appearance of this season, Nolan pitched a two hit shutout, striking out twelve as he picked up his first victory since September 15, 1967. Bench, whose average had plummeted to .182, collected three hits for only the second time in his career as the Reds defeated Philadelphia, 2-0. “Both of them will be talking and nobody will be listening in that hotel lobby tonight,” a grinning Dave Bristol remarked as he nodded toward Nolan and Bench, who were chirping away in the Reds’ clubhouse after the game. A Tony Perez home run, his sixth, and a sacrifice fly from Vada Pinson accounted for Nolan’s support. “Yep,” mused the Reds manager, “maybe we’re ready to get the show on the road now.” The Reds have fallen flat on their faces out the gate in 1968. As the calendar turns to June, Cincinnati is in the senior circuit cellar, sixteen and a half games off the Cardinals’ pace.

When spring training started, Jim Maloney and Nolan rated one-two in the Reds’ pitching rotation. The 20-year-old Nolan, though, threw a little too hard too early and wound up with arm miseries shortly before the season started. About the same time, Maloney began to experience the arm miseries which generally plague him at the beginning of each season. Maloney has worked his way through the pain with results, 1-1 and a 4.37 ERA, not suiting that of an anticipated staff ace, particularly not this season. The Reds rank number one in all of baseball in offense with a .251 team batting average, but only seventh in the National League in runs scored. The Reds are dead last in pitching with a team ERA of 3.77. The results on the standings board is a 15-29 record.

But the optimistic Red manager is thrilled with the results of Nolan’s ’68 debut. “When Nolan went out there, I hoped for one, two, three innings and then I know I was gonna get four,” said Bristol. Nolan gave his manager and a banged-up Red bullpen nine innings. “My arm is a little stiff and sore,” said Gary after the game, “but that’s the way it always was after games last year.” The young righthander smiled happily. “I was beginning to feel guilty – drawing pay for doing nothing,” he said. “From now on, though, I’m gonna earn my salary.” At this rate, Nolan will soon deserve a hefty raise.

5/31/1968, CIN68-PHI68, Connie Mack Stadium

                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
1968 Cincinnati        0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  0     2  9  1     8  1
1968 Philadelphia      0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0     0  2  1     5  1

Cincinnati           AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
Rose              rf  4  1  2  0  0  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .343    1  0  0  0
Ruiz              2b  4  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  .200    5  2  1  0
Pinson            cf  3  0  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  1  .235    2  0  0  0
Johnson,A         lf  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .326    2  0  0  0
Whitfield         1b  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .194    4  1  0  0
Perez             3b  4  1  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .250    0  0  0  0
Bench             c   4  0  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .196   12  0  0  0
Cardenas          ss  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .168    0  2  0  0
Nolan             p   3  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    1  1  0  0
                     33  2  9  2  0  0  1  3  7  1  2  0  0  0  1         27  6  1  0

Philadelphia         AB  R  H BI  D  T HR BB  K SB CS IW HP SH SF   AVG   PO  A  E PB
Rojas             2b  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .228    4  3  0  0
Briggs            cf  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .141    2  0  0  0
Gonzalez          lf  4  0  1  0  1  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .235    4  0  0  0
Callison          rf  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .214    1  0  0  0
White             1b  4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .209    7  1  1  0
Taylor            3b  3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  .235    0  1  0  0
Dalrymple         c   3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .141    7  2  0  0
Pena              ss  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .311    1  1  0  0
Jackson,L         p   2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  .077    0  2  0  0
 Lock             ph  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .283    0  0  0  0
 Farrell          p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .000    1  0  0  0
 James            p   0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  .333    0  0  0  0
                     29  0  2  0  1  0  0  3 12  0  0  0  0  0  0         27 10  1  0

Cincinnati                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
Nolan            W 1-0           9.0  2  0  0  3 12 116  70   32  0  0  0  0  1  0.00
                                 9.0  2  0  0  3 12 116  70   32  0  0  0  0  1

Philadelphia                     INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   BF HR IW HP WP DP   ERA
Jackson,L        L 3-6           8.0  9  2  2  1  6 105  70   31  1  0  0  0  1  1.50
Farrell                          0.2  0  0  0  1  1  19   9    4  0  0  0  0  0  1.40
James                            0.1  0  0  0  1  0   7   3    2  0  0  0  0  0  2.60
                                 9.0  9  2  2  3  7 131  82   37  1  0  0  0  1

PHI: Lock batted for Jackson,L in the 8th

GWRBI: Perez
Turk Farrell was ejected from this game
Temperature: 79, Sky: partly cloudy, Wind: right to left at 22 MPH.

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