Suggest to 36-year-old Dave Bristol that the Reds’ pitching staff is going to have him gray-haired before the season ends and he snorts, “Not me. I’m too young.” Maybe so. But if not gray hair, would you believe ulcers? After the first 79 games, the Reds’ aches-and-pains pitching staff had racked up the magnificent total of 13 complete games. The wonder is that Bristol, himself, does haven’t a sore arm from signaling pitchers in from the bullpen. As the Reds went into a July 8 game with the Padres at San Diego, Wayne Granger had appeared in 36 games, and Clay Carroll in 35 games.
Pedro Ramos, cut loose earlier this season by Pittsburgh, joined the Reds in mid-June after a brief stint with the Indianapolis farm club. Some three weeks later, the 34-year-old Cuban righthander had already appeared in 11 games.
Jim Maloney owns three of the Reds’ complete games. The last of which came on May 23rd. In his next start, Maloney could only go 4 innings. He continued to test his arm in relief roles, and finally, the Reds decided to send him to Dr. Robert Kerlan of Los Angeles. Dr. Kerlan had the answers for former Dodger pitching great Sandy Koufax, who remained around long enough to become almost a cinch for a Hall of Fame berth, even though he rarely pitched without experiencing intense pain. Maybe, reasoned the Reds’ brass, Dr. Kerlan had the answers for Maloney’s arm problems.
“I talked with Dr. Kerlan after he examined Maloney and I’m encouraged,” said Brisol when the Reds arrived in Los Angeles on July 3. However, the Reds’ manager wouldn’t hazard to guess as to how soon he expected to get some help from Maloney. Lefty Jim Merritt, acquired from Minnesota in a winter deal, has emerged as the ace of the Reds’ pitching staff. After Merritt though, it has been more or less a pitch and a prayer from other starters. Gary Nolan, it’s understood, is just about ready to come off the disabled list in Indianapolis. But if rest has provided a cure for his arm problems, he’ll need another “spring training” before he’s ready to pitch.