The Curious Case of Antonio Bastardo
So I was at the Phillies game last night where Bastardo entered the game in the 8th inning with the score tied 0-0. Kyle Kendrick surprisingly did very well for seven innings. Unfortunately for Kendrick and the fans, Bastardo loaded the bases, walked in a run, and then gave up a grand-slam home run to center field. Bastardo has had a very disappointing year with a 5.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.465. After a successful year last year, the Phillies brass was counting on Bastardo to be the 8th inning guy for Papelbon. For the most part, he has not come through.
What’s curious is how good Bastardo was last year compared to this year. As late as July 19th last year, he had an ERA of 0.99 and as late as Sept. 15th, an ERA of 1.98. He finished with an ERA of 2.64 and a very good WHIP of 0.931. His strikeout rate is up, but so is his walk rate. His fastball velocity is down a bit from last year, but I believe that might be coming back as of late. So this may just boil down to a lack of control this year, or maybe hitters adjusting to him, or both. The control is probably a big part of the problem.