Results tagged ‘ Antonio Bastardo ’

Get Up!

The Hardball Times has an excellent note about the Phillies, which seems fitting considering they are struggling to get back to .500:

Ninety years ago today the Phillies were a .500 franchise for the last time.

That’s pretty amazing, but here is the most incredible line in that note: “To get back to .500, they’d have to average 87 wins a years for the next century.”

Of course, these Phillies couldn’t care less about that. They’re 16-19 and trying to get to .500 for the first time since May 3, and above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. They are 2-1 since Charlie Manuel ripped into his team Wednesday, but they will need to play much better against much stronger competition to make a run in the National League East. I have a lot of people asking me if I think the Phillies are cooked. I don’t believe so, but they have about two months to prove me right before Ruben Amaro Jr. potentially makes big changes before the July 31 trade deadline.

So because it’s Monday and nobody likes a Debbie Downer, here are some numbers that might leave you encouraged (maybe?):

  • The Phillies are averaging 4.7 runs per game over their last 19 games. If they had been scoring at that pace since Opening Day, they would rank fourth in the National League in scoring. It’s also a better clip than last season, when they averaged 4.4 runs per game for the season. If they can keep it up they should win more than they lose, assuming the pitching is there.
  • Phillies starters have a 3.03 ERA, which ranks third in the league. It goes without saying the only thing that has not been an issue this season is the Phillies’ starting pitching. It has been consistently good since the beginning of the season. (Remove that brutal start against Atlanta, and Roy Hallday has a 2.12 ERA).
  • It’s the bullpen that has been awful. Its 5.12 ERA is 15th in the league. It is a very small sample size against the second-worst offense in the league, but the Phillies bullpen allowed four hits, one run, two walks and struck out nine in seven innings over the weekend against the Padres. Antonio Bastardo has allowed one hit, three walks and struck out five in seven innings in his last seven appearances. Chad Qualls said he discovered a mechanical flaw in his delivery, which he said is easily fixable. He threw two scoreless innings over the weekend. And, yes, that was Jonathan Papelbon pitching in a save situation yesterday for the first time since May 1.

Make anything of those numbers?

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del., 2:00 p.m.

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Stutes Scratched

The Phillies scratched right-hander Mike Stutes from his scheduled appearance tomorrow in New York because of a shoulder issue.

Said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee: “A little inflammation. We don’t think it’s anything major. We’ll give him a little time off. He’s had eight or nine outings down here.”

Said Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock: “It’s nothing serious.”

He said no MRI is scheduled.

Dubee mentioned Stutues’ nine Grapefruit League appearances, implying if Stutes misses a few days he could still be ready for Opening Day next Thursday.

You figure Stutes is penciled in for one of the six spots in the bullpen, if the Phillies have everybody healthy and carry just 11 pitchers into the season. But things get a little crazy if Stutes is unable to open the season and Jose Contreras, who is still throwing in Minor League spring training games, is unable to open the season. Add Antonio Bastardo‘s lack of velocity and the Phillies’ bullpen situation is less settled than they’d like it to be.

“There’s nothing wrong with him,” Proefrock said about Bastardo.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Galvis Bruises Foot, Bastardo Looks for Velocity

Freddy Galvis offered a quick smile in front of his locker this afternoon at Bright House Field.

“It’s good,” he said. “I’m good.”

Galvis fouled a pitch off the top of his left foot in the eighth inning in a 5-4 victory over the Pirates. Galvis, who left the game, suffered a bruise, but the Phillies do not believe the injury to be serious.

Galvis, who did not have x-rays, is day-to-day. A doctor will examine him tomorrow.

“Tomorrow I’m good,” Galvis insisted.

The Phillies already are without Ryan Howard (left Achilles surgery), Chase Utley (chronic left knee injury) and Michael Martinez (fractured right foot). They cannot afford to lose Galvis for any period of time.

That said, Charlie Manuel said it wasn’t a scary moment for him.

“Scary, no?” he said. “It takes a hell of a lot to scare me. If I get scared, I usually get mad.”

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There are obvious infield concerns, but there is a concern in the bullpen, too.

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You will know by Friday whether or not Juan Pierre is making the Opening Day roster.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

The Number Shuffle

If you have any interest about the numbers on the back of the Phillies’ uniforms …

We know Jonathan Papelbon‘s alter ego “Cinco Ocho” is based on the No. 58 on the back of his jersey.

But when he came to Philadelphia he knew Antonio Bastardo had the number. No big deal. Papelbon and Bastardo have the same agents, so Bastardo had no problem handing his number to the Phillies’ new closer. (Papelbon gave Bastardo a Rolex for the effort.) Of course, then Bastardo needed a new number. Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger gave Bastardo a few options, and Bastardo finally settled on No. 37.

Now, Justin De Fratus wore No. 37 the final couple weeks of the 2011 season. But that’s not enough service time to keep it, so he handed the number to Bastardo. Not that he minded. Because when Coppenbarger started to rattle off a few numbers for De Fratus, he blurted out, “How about 79?”

“Are you serious?” Coppenbarger said.

“Yeah,” De Fratus replied. “I wore it in the (Arizona) Fall League (in 2010).”

Coppenbarger said he had no problem with that. In fact, he liked it because De Fratus will never have to worry about any player asking him for his number ever again. But he also made sure De Fratus really wanted it. Coppenbarger said, “Hey, if you pick this you’ve got to stick with it. If your teammates start giving you a hard time you can’t start switching around.” De Fratus said he wanted it.

So he’s got it.

And that’s how Papelbon got 58, Bastardo got 37 and De Fratus got 79.

“I wore it in the Fall League and I had a good Fall League,” De Fratus said. “So why not?”

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From Sunday in Clearwater:

Finally, A ‘W’

Is everybody feeling better?

A few notes from yesterday’s s victory over the Mets, which snapped an eight-game losing streak:

  • You could feel a little extra energy in the clubhouse before the 9-4 victory because players knew they finally had their everyday lineup on the field. It was just the fifth time they’ve that since Hunter Pence joined the team. (They’re 5-0 in those games.) It was just the 16th time this season they’ve had that, including Domonic Brown or Ben Francisco. (They’re 12-4 in those games.)
  • Roy Halladay improved to 19-6. Halladay (2005-11) will be the sixth pitcher in baseball history to finish at least seven games over .500 in seven or more consecutive seasons. The other pitchers to do that are in the Hall of Fame: Tim Keefe (seven years, 1883-89), John Clarkson (nine, 1884-92), Kid Nichols (nine, 1890-98), Christy Mathewson (12, 1903-14) and Lefty Grove (seven, 1927-33).
  • Antonio Bastardo continues to struggle. He is saying the slider doesn’t feel good coming out of his hand. I’ve got to think his confidence is shot, too. Whatever the case, Bastardo has three games to figure out things before the postseason. He said he hopes to pitch one or two more times to see if he can get that feel back. If he can’t? I think they go with the right-handers. (What other choice do they have?) We saw Vance Worley taking over for Bastardo in the seventh inning. He could be an option, along with Mike Stutes and Brad Lidge.

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Magic Number: 1

It doesn’t take a genius to know Charlie Manuel is worried about the offense.

The Phillies could have clinched the NL East last night, but failed to take advantage in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in 11 innings. Asked how frustrated he was about that, he said, “We didn’t do enough hitting tonight to get there.” That’s what we call reading between the lines. Manuel was asked how frustrated he was to have to wait another night, and he answered a question about the offense.

The Phillies have averaged 2.0 runs per game in their last eight games (Sept. 10-16), which ranks last in the National League. They’re hitting .205 (last) with a .261 on-base percentage (last) and a .324 slugging percentage (14th). This is not the best time to get into a team-wide slump, considering a lack of offense cost them in last year’s NLCS. But the Phillies have not had their projected everyday lineup together since Aug. 6 in San Francisco. And lately, they have been without Jimmy Rollins, who has missed time with a strained groin; Chase Utley, who missed time with a concussion; and Ryan Howard, who has not started four of the last 10 games because of bursitis in his left Achilles.

Maybe that has something to do with it. I’m sure Manuel hopes that’s the case.

The offense has been a tale of two halves:

  • April – June: 4.01 runs per game (eighth in the league), .244 average (10th), .318 OBP (seventh) and .374 slugging (11th).
  • July – Sept. 9: 5.41 runs per game (first), .269 average (second), .337 OBP (second) and .439 slugging (first).

Are they turning back the clock at the wrong time?

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Keep an eye on Justin De Fratus and Joe Savery, who were called up last night. The Phillies’ bullpen has been a little rocky lately, so maybe they could pitch themselves onto the postseason roster. Savery is especially interesting because of Antonio Bastardo‘s recent struggles. Bastardo is the only left-hander in the bullpen, so if he is scuffling the Phillies might have to consider Savery as a second option.

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Sad news: KYW’s Jack O’Rourke died last night after covering the Phillies game. A very, very nice man. He covered every spring training since I’ve been on the beat, which is how I will remember him — getting interviews from players in Clearwater and returning to one of the radio booths in the press box to send sound back to Philadephia. He always had a smile on his face and always greeted me the same way:

“What’s up, Jack?”

“Hi, Toddy.”

He was the only person to call me that. Thoughts and prayers with his family. He will be missed.

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Glorious Bastardo

Everybody knows Antonio Bastardo has been a bullpen savior, right?

He is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 55 appearances. He has allowed just 19 hits, eight runs and 19 walks in 52 1/3 innings. He has struck out 65. Opponents have hit just .112 against him. He got Joey Votto to hit into an inning-ending double play in the seventh inning in today’s 6-4 victory over the Reds. He then struck out the side in the eighth.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Charlie Manuel said. “He’s had a big year. Bastardo to me is outstanding – one of the better years I’ve seen a lefty have.”

Forget lefties. Bastardo is having one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher ever.

His .112 opponent batting average is the lowest in baseball history for any pitcher with 50 or more innings in a season. Eric Gagne held opponents to a .133 average in 2003, which is the second-best in baseball history.

“It’s crazy how dominating he’s been,” Brad Lidge said. “I’ve been in a lot of bullpens with a lot of good pitchers and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone doing what he’s doing right now.”

“He’s always had an invisi-ball,” Vance Worley said. “It was just a matter of time before he came up here and got to show what he can do. He’s doing what he needs to do.”

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The Windy (Hot) City

A few thoughts before this week’s series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field:

  • Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee did not pitch this weekend in New York, but the Phillies won 2 of 3. And the one game they lost Cole Hamels pitched. I agreed with Rich Dubee‘s decision to push back Halladay and Lee. Give them a little extra rest whenever possible. An extra day. An extra inning. Anything will help them feel a little fresher in October.
  • From Elias Sports Bureau: Antonio Bastardo recorded the final four outs of the Phillies’ victory yesterday to notch his sixth save, but allowed one run and two hits in the process. That’s noteworthy because Bastardo entered the game having held opponents hitless in their last 37 at-bats. He extended that streak to 39 at-bats before surrendering a double to Daniel Murphy with one out in the ninth inning to snap the second-longest hitless streak against any pitcher this season. Justin Verlander held batters hitless in 46 consecutive at-bats over a three-game span (May 2-13) that sandwiched his May 7 no-hitter.
  • Hearing the heat index in Chicago is going to be brutal this week. Awesome!

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Who Are the Phillies All-Stars?

Major League Baseball announces its All-Star teams tomorrow.

Who ya got?

Locks:

  • Roy Halladay. He is 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA. He leads the league in complete games, innings and strikeouts. He’s the ace on a staff of aces. The only question is whether Halladay will be the National League’s starting pitcher or not?
  •  Placido Polanco. Polanco is hitting .280 with four homers and 39 RBIs, but had a commanding lead last week in the fan voting. He will be the starting third baseman.

Good shots

  • Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. It will be interesting to see if both make the team. I only say that because I can’t remember the last time a team had three pitchers from the same rotation make the All-Star team, but then again I haven’t extensively researched the topic. Players made their votes last weekend before Lee threw his third consecutive shutout. I think before that third shutout not a lot of players knew how well Lee was pitching in June. But entering today Halladay, Hamels and Lee ranked in the top seven in the league in ERA. They’re all worthy.

In the hunt

  • Shane Victorino. Victorino started the day ninth in the league in slugging percentage. Ninth. Not among outfielders. Among everybody. He was sixth among outfielders in OPS.
  • Ryan Howard. He is among the league leaders in home runs and RBIs, but faces stiff competition with Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto and Todd Helton. He might be the odd man out.
  • Ryan Madson. I thought he had a great shot to make the team before he got injured. But he hasn’t pitched since June 18, which hurt his chances.
  • Antonio Bastardo. He’s worthy, but starters and closers generally make the team. But the NL certainly could use a guy like Bastardo. His 0.90 ERA is the best among NL relievers.

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Who’s In, Who’s Out When Contreras, Lidge Are Back?

Before the season started the Phillies had their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers aligned like this:

  • Jose Contreras in the seventh.
  • Ryan Madson in the eighth.
  • Brad Lidge in the ninth.

But because of injuries to Lidge and Contreras, the Phillies have adjusted. They’ve used Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero and others in critical late-inning situations. In last night’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Phillies went young. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Vance Worley picked up big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.

“I think I put them in the fire, didn’t I?” Charlie Manuel said after the game.

Contreras could be back in roughly a week, although that remains to be seen. Lidge has said he’s hopeful he could be back before the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen lines up upon their return. Who stays? Who goes? Worley has done an excellent job, but it’s probably in the team’s s best interest to eventually send him back to Triple-A to start. (Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much recently.) They need him stretched out in case something happens to another starter. Roy Oswalt already has missed time because of a bad back and Joe Blanton already has missed time because of soreness in his right elbow (he still has discomfort in the elbow). It doesn’t make much sense to have the team’s No. 6 and 7 starters (Kendrick and Worley) both pitching in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson or Vance Worley could be optioned Tuesday when the Phillies activate Oswalt from the DL. The other could be optioned when the Phillies activate Contreras. But what happens when Lidge returns? If Worley and Mathieson are optioned at some point and everybody is healthy, the bullpen would look like this: Baez, Bastardo, Contreras, Kendrick, Madson, Romero and Stutes.

Now it gets interesting. Bastardo, Contreras, Madson and Romero appear safe. The Phillies need a long man, which is Kendrick. That would leave Baez and Stutes. Baez has had his struggles, but is a veteran making $2.75 million. Stutes has options, but has been impressive in limited action. Fortunately for the Phillies the decision does not need to be made today. If Baez is pitching well when Lidge returns I think he stays. But if he’s not pitching well he could be in trouble — unless Stutes himself is struggling.

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