Wilmington Evening Journal - October 1, 1980

Phils’ Bystrom stands out in size & poise


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – You can't help noticing Marty Bystrom's size. The Phillies' rookie right-hander is a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder. Equally obvious, once the kid starts pitching, is his poise.


Bystrom is 5-0 since being called up from Oklahoma City on Sept. 1. He beat the Chicago Cubs 14-2 last night at Veterans Stadium, striving for a no-hitter while the Phils were scoring runs in bunches.


They got four runs in the first, sixth and seventh innings to stay within a half-game of the Montreal Expos. Bystrom, meanwhile, allowed no hits through four innings and four hits altogether in the seven innings Manager Dallas Green let him pitch.


"Poise?" said Bystrom, dripping confidence as he fielded the post-game questions. "I guess I was coached into it. A lot of guys give up a couple of runs and they start walking around, getting ticked off at themselves. You lose your head and you're in trouble.


"If somebody makes an error or I give up a couple hits, I don't let it bother me. I just go after them with my best stuff."


A case in point was the fifth inning of last night's laugher. The Phils were already ahead 6-0 against loser Lynn McGlothen, but the last-place Cubs clawed and scratched and loaded the bases on two singles and a walk.


Ivan DeJesus was jammed with a pitch, but punched it into center field for a run-scoring single. It was now 6-1, still no sweat. Bystrom went after Mike Tyson, striking him out with apparent ease. But Bill Buckner, batting .322, was due next.


"The best hitter in the league was up in Buckner, but I wasn't gonna give in to him," Bystrom said. "I just said he wasn't gonna hit me. I gave him my best stuff, all fastballs, and I jammed him pretty good. And I got out of it with only one run."


Buckner, incidentally, fouled meekly to third baseman Mike Schmidt.


Most pitchers, veterans as well as rookies, shrug off lost no-hitters, saying they weren't aware of having one going. But not Bystrom, who is as candid as he is cocky.


"I knew I had one going; I think a pitcher always does," he said of the gem Steve Dillard ruined with a clean single to left in the fifth. "You go three, four, five innings and you say, shoot, there's a long way to go.


"I've been in that situation before, but I did throw one. A perfect game in 'A' ball. My father Franklin was there to see that one. There was no bigger thrill for me... except maybe to throw one here."


Give him a chance and he just might do it. Bystrom certainly had every intention of being as stingy as he could with the Cubs last night.


"If you get by the sixth inning, you've got a chance, if things go well," he said. "I said I'd throw one tonight. When they got a hit, I said I'd throw a one-hitter."


Confidence and poise are the kid's strong suits, as well as a good fastball and an even better slider.


"I knew he could pitch," said Green, who had virtually an all-Oklahoma City alumni team on the field when the game ended. "He came up here and did exactly what I thought he could do."


Exactly, Dallas?


"Well, I didn't anticipate he'd go 5-0, but let's face it, he pitches well and comes out a winner. He has the stuff to be a heckuva big-league pitcher if he minds his P's and Q's and takes care of himself. He has to work at his job to stay physically fit and, if he's not physically fit, he's in trouble."


There was no trouble on the horizon last night. The Phils, who hadn't scored more than three runs in an inning since Sept. 18 – when Bystrom was on the mound – got four in the first, with rookie catcher Keith Moreland's two-run double the key hit.


The Phils got four more in the sixth, this time with Bake McBride's bases-loaded single scoring two tuns. The four-spot in the seventh was built around Orlando Isales' first major-league hit, a two-run triple.


"That felt good," Green said of the romp. "I'm glad we could get the kids in. They had some fun and that's good."


Bystrom's enjoying himself, too, since his call-up on Sept. 1. That's one day late to be eligible for the playoffs and World Series, unless the Phils disable another pitcher and successfully petition the league for a waiver.


Green said his pitching rotation for the weekend series in Montreal is Dick Ruthven Friday night, Larry Christenson Saturday and Steve Carlton, if necessary, on Sunday.


"Lefty's a guy I don't want to use until I have to," said the manager, who added he wasn't afraid to use Bystrom, either.


"I wouldn't be hesitant at all to use him," Green said. "He's pitched good games against tough-hitting teams. He's a kid pressure doesn't seem to bother. He feels it inside, but he doesn't show it outwardly."


Poise, Dallas. The kid has poise. Like when somebody suggested that Bystrom could find himself pitching in an unscheduled game at the Vet next Monday afternoon, if the Phils and Expos end the regular season in a tie and need a one-game playoff to determine an Eastern Division winner.


"I haven't thought of a tie," Bystrom said. "We're gonna win it. Bet on that. We scored a lot of runs tonight. We might have broken out of it (a horrendous hitting slump) tonight. We haven't scored a lot of runs lately, but the pitching's been pretty good."


And five big slices of it belong to a poised hulk named Marty Bystrom.


EXTRA INNINGS – Phils' 19th victory in September ties a club record... The 24,349 fans pushed the attendance over 2.600,000 for the' third time in club history… Bake McBride has hit in eight straight games... The Phils have scored 14 runs in a game twice this season. The high is 17 vs. Atlanta... Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox are likely to remain on the bench tonight, but Green said Bob Boone will catch Carlton, who pitches against Dennis Lamp... Bob Walk goes against Randy Martz tomorrow.