Camden Courier-Post - September 11, 1980
Phils' rookie blanks Mets
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
NEW YORK – The Phillies who kept pace with the division-leading Montreal Expos by beating the New York Mets 5-0 last night here in Shea Stadium, wanted to make it easy for the rookie pitcher.
But righthander Marty Bystrom ended up returning the favor as he hurled a five-hit shutout in his first big league starting assignment.
The last Phillie hurler to chalk up a shut out in his debut was Dave Downs, who turned the trick against the Atlanta Braves in 1972 before arm trouble ended his career.
"I KNEW ABOUT that because I played with Dave's brother," said Bystrom, whose own career was jeopardized last spring by a series of leg injuries.
"That's behind me now," said the hottest prospect to come out of the Phils' farm system in a half a dozen years. "All I want to do now is help the team.”
The Phils wanted to help him. They jumped on Mets starter Mark Bomback for three runs in the first inning. And Bake McBride used the first of his four hits to knock in the first run.
Pete Rose opened the game with a double and scored on Bake's single to center field. McBride then crossed on Greg Luzinski's double into the left field corner.
GARRY MADDOX, WHO also banged out four hits, ripped a single to center to make it 3-0.
"You always want to give a young pitcher like that an edge if you can," said McBride. "The early lead may have helped him. But from the way he pitched, he doesn't seem to need a whole lot of help."
Ironically, McBride pushed his hitting streak to eight hits out of nine trips to the plate despite a pair of ailing knees and an assortment of aches and pains.
Bake is hurting. Yet, because he isn't 100 percent physically, he's able to accept the occasional benching that Manager Dallas Green has forced on him.
"IF I WAS HEALTHY, I guess I'd be upset about not playing all the time," said McBride with a laugh. "Being hurt and all, I can understand the manager's thinking. And, as a result, all I'm thinking about is keeping my batting stroke going."
The Phils threatened in just about every inning, finally breaking through again in the eighth as Luzinski walked and was replaced by speedy Jay Loviglio, who moved to second on an infield out and scored on Maddox' single off Met third baseman Elliot Maddox’ glove.
Bystrom, who has batted just eight limes in his professional career, opened the ninth with his first major league hit.
"I knew you had the shutout in you, but a base hit!" said former minor league teammate Dickie Noles.
THAT PROMPTED A smile from Bystrom, who advanced on McBride's single, Mike Schmidt's deep fly ball and scored on a single by Greg Gross.
The last time the Phillies were here, they swept five games. Now, it looks like more of the same.
The only anxious moment came in the eighth inning when Larry Bowa hurt his right knee beating out an infield hit.
"Their first baseman (Lee Mazzilli) kicked him accidently just above the knee," explained Green. "It was like getting hit on the crazy bone. But Larry is okay."
AS FOR BYSTROM, don't let the 6-5 record he registered at Oklahoma City fool you, He was still struggling with a hamstring pull when he was 1-4. Then he got rolling this past month.
"He didn't pitch well until his last four starts," said Green. "What do you think of him now?"
Tonight, righthander Dick Ruthven tries to keep the bandwagon rolling as be takes on Ray Bums in the second and final game of this visit here.
Confidence top asset of Phils’ latest find
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
NEW YORK – Pitching a shutout in his first major league start is not the kind of thing that would surprise Phillies righthander Marty Bystrom. That's the kind of kid he is – confident.
"I thought about it all last night" said the 22-year-old. "And, when I got up this morning I thought, 'I'm going out there and throw a shutout.'"
The lowly New York Mets got just five hits off Bystrom as the Phils coasted to a breezy 5-0 victory at Shea Stadium. Three of the hits never left the infield as the 6-5, 200-pounder acted like a seasoned veteran on the mound.
"I like his demeanor oat there, his approach to the game," said Manager Dallas Green. "He was all business. He knew what he had to do and he didn't let anything bother him."
If Bystrom is for real – and there is no reason to doubt it at this point – the Phillies' pitching picture is much better than anyone had the right to expect.
"It's a shame we didn't have him all year," said Green. "What he did tonight was no less than we thought he would do. He was very professional, just like we anticipated."
The Phils' brass has been waiting to hatch this egg ever since General Manager Paul Owens and super-scout Hugh Alexander saw him work six of the finest innings they ever saw a kid pitch in the Winter Instructional League a few years back.
Bystrom was going to be the organization's trump card that was going to be played this spring. But, he pulled a hamstring muscle and then reinjured it at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
"I was just walking into the back office to have my picture taken," recalled the kid from Coral Gables. The leg was still weak. And, when I slipped, I didn't have a chance to recover.
"After that, there were times when I thought that I might be missing a golden opportunity to be in the big leagues... because the team needed me.
"But, I also knew that if I laid down and died, I'd never get back up and get to the majors."
Bystrom is here. He's happy. But, don't expect him to be overwhelmed, overjoyed or overanything.
He thought about the pressure of the pennant race and about the Phils being just a half-game behind the division-leading Expos. Then, he pushed it all out of his mind and thought about his last starting assignment in Oklahoma City. It was also a shutout.
"I just relaxed and figured that if I pitched the same way I did last time, I'd be okay," he said. "This was my main goal ever since I was a kid. But, basically I'm a relaxed person."
The only nervousness Bystrom has felt since joining the club came, last week, when Manager Dallas Green sent him in to mop up a late inning against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
It was a dandy decision, because Marty took his rookie jitters to the mound, looked around at the crowd of 45,000 fans and proceeded to get three quick outs.
"At that point, I knew I could pitch here," he said. "That's why I wasn't nervous tonight."
Success has always come naturally to Bystrom. Even in high school he had four super pitches, although it wasn't until he got a second season of professional ball under his belt that he knew he could throw them all for strikes consistently.
"I wasn't really scouted when I was in high school because I weighed just 160 pounds," he recalled. "I didn't let it worry me. I figured time would take care of things.
It did. He grew three inches taller and filled out like an oak tree. He had gone to Miami Dade Junior College to "see what would happen," and it wasn't long before the Phillies were twisting arms in an effort to get him signed.
During the past two years, the Phils' front office has had to fight off every general manager in baseball, because they all wanted Bystrom included in trade talks.
But the Phils knew he was something special. You know a youngster is special when he gets his act together during the final four games of the 1980 minor league season and ends up starting in the majors.