Results tagged ‘ Antonio Bastardo ’

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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Dennys Meet Danys, Danys Meet Dennys

A source said this afternoon the Phillies are very close to agreeing on a one-year contract with left-hander Dennys Reyes, although details were still being worked out. ESPN’s Enrique Rojas said the deal would include an option for 2012.

If the deal gets finalized, the Phillies will have a veteran left-hander in the pen next season. Antonio Bastardo is another lefty with a good chance to make the team out of Spring Training. The other left-handers on the 40-man roster with big-league experience are Mike Zagurski and Sergio Escalona.

So, yes, there would be Dennys Reyes and Danys Baez on the same team — thus the clip from Spies Like Us.

Asked how he pronounces his name, Reyes once told Cardinals beat writers, “It’s Dennys, like the restaurant.” So there you go.

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The NLDS Roster

The Phillies just announced their NLDS roster.

Greg Dobbs, Domonic Brown and Antonio Bastardo are ON. Kyle KendrickDanys Baez and David Herndon are OUT.

Here is how it looks:

  • Pitchers (10): Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin and Bastardo.
  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (7): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Wilson Valdez, Mike Sweeney and Dobbs.
  • Outfielders (5): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload and Brown.

The Phillies obviously feel with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt they do not need 11 pitchers, which cost Kendrick a spot. Dobbs could provide insurance should something happen to Rollins, who missed most of September with an injured hamstring. If Valdez had to play, the Phillies would have nobody to backup Polanco or even Utley.

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Looking Like Halladay for Game 1

halladay 0928 2010.jpgRoy Halladay seems destined to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 6 at Citizens Bank Park.

It is not official, but the Phillies dropped a couple hints today.

Kyle Kendrick will pitch Friday against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, which has become a meaningless series since the Phillies clinched their fourth consecutive NL East championship last night. The Phillies have not announced starters for Saturday or Sunday, but it sounds like Halladay will be skipped.

“There’s a real good chance,” Charlie Manuel said.

“He probably won’t start,” Rich Dubee said.

Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt both could pitch a few innings this weekend as a tune-up for the playoffs.

Manuel said the Phillies have chosen to play an eight-day NLDS because it allows them the luxury of pitching only Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt on normal rest through the five-game series. Because the Phillies only need three starters, they might carry fewer pitchers in the first round.

The Phillies would like to give left-handers Antonio Bastardo and Mike Zagurski work this week to see if they can carry two left-handers in the bullpen.

They also suggested left-hander Jamie Moyer, who has not pitched since July because of a left elbow injury, could be ready to pitch in the later rounds of the postseason. But Moyer just started throwing off a mound, and he only has thrown four-seam fastballs, which he does not throw in games. He is a way away from returning.

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Baez to DL Creates Postseason Roster Flexibility

The Phillies gained postseason roster flexibility today when they placed right-hander Danys Baez on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms.

The Phillies, who recalled left-hander Antonio Bastardo from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Baez’s place, have 28 players eligible for the postseason. They have the players on the current 25-man roster, plus the three players on the disabled list: Baez, Ross Gload and Jamie Moyer.

“We’d have one wild card, which would be Jamie’s spot,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

Moyer is a wild card because he will not pitch again this season. The Phillies can replace Moyer with anybody who is in the organization on Aug. 31. In other words, if they wanted to call up a player from Class A Lakewood they could do that. That is how left-hander J.A. Happ made the postseason roster in 2008. Pitchers Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski were on the 60-day disabled list, which allowed the Phillies to take Happ, who was a September call-up.

The Phillies got creative in 2009, when they selected the contract of injured right-hander John Ennis and immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. That is unlikely to happen to this year, but there are ways to get more flexibility. Now that Baez is on the DL, the Phillies won’t have to use their wild card on Bastardo, if they would want him on the postseason roster.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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