CliffsNotes Of Bastardo’s Debut Suggest Excited Patience

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, June 03, 2009 10:40 AM | Comments: 37
Analysis, Posts

BastardoSD2Remember JA Happ’s first start of the season against the Yankees? He threw more than 80 percent of his pitches for fastballs. In his second start, that percentage dipped a little as he began to incorporate his breaking pitches. And last night against San Diego, Antonio Bastardo threw a lot of fastballs – 77 of his 102 pitches (or just below 80 percent).

There are many reasons behind that. For one, the Phillies had given Bastardo an early 4-0 lead; no need to mix up breaking pitches and risk putting runners on base. Two, Charlie Manuel claimed Bastardo was a little too excited, affecting the grip of his breaking and off-speed pitch. Three, it was his first major league start.

I was surprised to find many people reacting quickly to Bastardo’s first start. A lot of people wrote (in various places) that the lack of prominence of secondary and tertiary pitches meant Bastardo was a better reliever. Again: It was his first start.

Here’s what we do know about Bastardo, so far:

  • His plus fastball was starting out in the 93-95 mph range, regularly sitting at 94. Near the 40-pitch mark, the mean regressed to 93, and near the 70-pitch mark, he was comfortably throwing 91-92. He finished his outing throwing primarily 91 mph fastballs. Mixing his pitches and more seasoning in the majors should retain a higher velocity later in games; however, a 90-92 fastball range is still pretty good.
  • The fastball moves well toward the end. Moreover, Bastardo isn’t afraid to pitch inside. He was throwing to most hitters on the inside part of the plate, almost pounding the zone with tenacity.
  • The slider was pretty good, breaking tight and down in the zone. It seems Bastardo can work well pounding inside to right-handed hitters, then tossing the slider a little more toward the middle of the plate, but down hard.
  • We almost didn’t see the changeup at all. We were told Scott Hairston launched one barely foul, but the game report reads it was a fastball he rocked.

We have to reserve judgment on Bastardo’s future role for a while. For one, we haven’t seen the changeup, which is supposedly his best pitch and the pitch capable of making Bastardo not just an ordinary starter, but a dominating one on the level of Cole Hamels. And as I said, it was his first start. He pitched through nerves and put together a splendid outing. Next are the formidable Dodgers on the road, an excruciating test for Bastardo. We’ll probably see more changeups and a few more sliders. But even then, we still can’t make judgments.

The only thing we can say, now, is that Antonio Bastardo has a very good arm.

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Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Steve-o

    I was a big fan of Bastardo last night. I think the 4 run inning was huge, but I was real impressed with how he attacked hitters with his fastball, consistently coming inside and also climbing the ladder on a few occasions. I’m excited to see his change when he finally unveils it, and I still think he’ll need some seasoning in the minors on his other stuff, but first impressions are important, and I for one was thrilled.
    I’ll be interested to see how he deals with the Dodgers lineup.

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Nothing is guarenteed but it sure was fun to watch last night.

    The pitching that got us there last year is nearly gone. Trouble seems to wait on Joe Blanton, Meyers is out and Jamie has not been himself. But this year is fully about offense. I think about the greatest offeneses I have witnessed in baseball and I would have to say that the 95 Tribe team is the standard of pain. This team’s talent could be a match bat for bat and then some at least for the starters. You choose your team

    Omar Visquel or Jimmy Rollins
    Carlos Baerfa or Chase Utley
    23 year old Manny Ramirez or Raul Ibanez
    Kenny Lofton or Shane Victorino
    Albert Belle or Jason Werth

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    His command is great… if he can keep that up, he’s going to be successful. He can put the ball anywhere he wants.

    It’s like a game of poker… you don’t show your cards unless you have to. Teams are still trying to get a full scouting report on this kid and he was able to get by just throwing fastballs… that means that he still has some tricks in his bag (that changeup is his best pitch). What a great start.

    Up four runs, he snuck those fastballs by them with ease. He has a quick delivery and I’m sure that the Padres were just as surprised as we were to see him hitting 95 (when the scouting reports clearly said 91-93). I love that he was pounding the inside part of the strike zone and 102 pitches in a MLB debut must be some sort of Phillies record. His fastball looked a little flat at times… I think that once he settles down we’re going to see more movement on that pitch. Regardless, I expect him to throw more changeups and a few more sliders in his next outing.

  • Posts: 0 M.P. aka Philles Phan SC #54

    Anyone who is on 11:37am Charlie is on XM 175 talking about Bastardo. What we discussed was accurate – Bastardo was wound up at first, but calmed down as it went on. Charlie is complimenting Happ and Bastardo and saying he is satisfied with them for now, but open to bettering them only if needed later. I will post more for discussion.

  • Posts: 0 M.P. aka Philles Phan SC #54

    Updated: JC will be the 8th inning guy and Eyre will continue his role. Charlie likes 4 starting lefties. More to come…

  • Posts: 0 M.P. aka Philles Phan SC #54

    Update: Charlie likes Rauuuuuuuuul

  • Posts: 0 TOm G

    I don’ t mind the philosophy of having the new pitcher throw a majority of Fastballs…but it bothered me greatly that Skipper announced it before Happ’s start the other day…thinking…yeah, just sit on the fast ball it the talk in the clubhouse…

    Loved the little Bastardo performance…he has the mind to win…throwing inside to right hd’s is crucial and he did it in his first…I like his future

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    How about
    Paul Sorento at 1b or Ryan Howard
    Jim Thome (at 24) or Pedro Feliz
    38 yr old Tony Pena or Chooch

    Even coming off the bench Eddie Murray – I compare the 2 teams but tell you that the Phillies are a team – the Phils gel sweetly and the pitching is improving. How sweet is it?

  • Posts: 0 M.P. aka Philles Phan SC #54

    Updated: Charlie supports Manny to play in the All-Star game if voted in… I don’t agree, but hey, I respect Charlie. Interview done.

  • Posts: 0 M.P. aka Philles Phan SC #54

    I know my latter two posts had little to do with the story, but I wanted to keep it updated.

  • Posts: 0 Groty

    Bastardo was obviously excited through the first 2 Innings. The guy never took a breath. Then Chooch slowed him down in the third.

  • Posts: 0 Buffalophilsfan

    No way JC is the 8th inning guy when the Phils have the best set-up man in MLB in Madson. JC will be a LOOGY getting lefties in tough spots in the 6th or 7th.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Man, I can’t believe Brett Myers will be out of the rotation for the rest of the season!! Didn’t see that one coming! I get this vibe that no one here is as concerned about this as I am… Our starters (Blanton, Moyer) are improving and new guys are stepping up (Happ, Bastardo)… but Myers was our most consistent pitcher this season and I feel he was about to have a formidable season. At least this year, he is definitely underrated among Phillies fans.

  • Posts: 0 Buffalophilsfan

    On another note … anyway we could trade the Ho Train for a new bat rack or a couple helmets?? He is terrible and should be placed on a slow boat back to Korea.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    To easy to get down on Chan Ho, once he settles back into the pen he could be really versatile in middle relief.

    As for Bastardo I loved what that kid brought last night, he looked a little uncomfortable before inducing that DP but that kid went out there and didn’t show any fear (even at the plate). Really liked his delivery, he didn’t seem thoroughly comfortable going after with 2 strikes on the hitters but that’s a nice compact delivery and this kid excites the hell out of me… Again I’m back to looking down the depth chart more than the rumoured availables because the Phils have quietly assembled depth in talent when it comes to starting pitching.

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    NJ you think Park, not the guy who pitch last night but the guy who has been bad for years, will be versatile. how can you say that. and second he doesn’t want to be a relief pitcher. The announcer pointed that out to us last night, so a combination of him not wanting to do the role plus his bad outing, and bad pitching for the last 5 years, and he will settle in,

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Going back to Brooks at 11:31 AM…

    That’s an interesting question… where does this team rank among the greatest offenses in history? It’s too early to tell for sure but right now they project pretty well.

    Here are the team stats through 50 game side by side:
    2009 Phils
    (30-20), 282 R, 459 H, 74 HR, .266 BA, .472 SLG%, .821 OPS
    1995 Tribe
    (34-16), 295 R, 518 H, 83 HR, .295 BA, .503 SLG%, .866 OPS

    The one thing that skews things is the DH… what would those numbers look like if the Phillies had the luxury of a DH (Matt Stairs)??

    Here’s how I see it (the lineups compared 1-8)… The Indians 1-5 weren’t that scary but their 6-7 hitters were killers!

    1 – Rollins/Lofton… Lofton
    2 – Vic/Vizquel… Vic
    3 – Utley/Baerga… Utley
    4 – Howard/Belle… Belle
    5 – Ibanez/Murray… Ibanez
    6 – Werth/Thome… Thome
    7 – Feliz/Ramirez… Ramirez
    8 – Ruiz/Sorrento… Sorrento

    OPS would agree with me, too…

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Come on that’s harsh, he signed here to compete as a starter but he’s no Shawn Chacon and he’s clearly a good guy so he’ll re-adjust. He had a good year in relief last year with the Dodgers, I’m not suggesting he’ll supplant Madson as the set-up guy but he can keep guys like Durbin and Condrey fresh by eating up innings in middle relief. So what he got shown up last night just like Lidge got shown up pitching non save situations a few weeks back, I’ll judge him on his attitude in games that matter and his ability to pitch innings in games that don’t matter.

    I can understand negative feelings somewhat towards Park but I don’t like throwing this guy under the bus a third way into the season.

    That Bastardo though… Happy times

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    The ironic thing about this debate is that the hitting coach for that team was the one and only Charlie Manuel…

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    I don’t think that we’ll see Park pitching in situations that matter… I like the guy and I was a vocal supporter but it’s obvious that the Phillies have moved on. I would think that if there’s a trade to be made, Amaro will look to do it. I do think that Park can be successful on a team like the Orioles or the Nationals, where he’s not being forced to look over his shoulder, but the question is what are they willing to give us in return and how much of his salary will we have to eat?

  • Posts: 0 Matt Kwasiborski

    The main difference about those Indians teams vs the Phils is that we at least one WS. Bottom line, we are WFC and they never were. I will take that over any other comparasion!

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    Forget the Indians, try the 76 Reds on for size.

    1B – Howard v. Perez Howard
    2B – Utley v. Morgan Morgan
    SS – Rollins v. Concepcion Rollins
    3B – Rose v. Feliz Rose
    C – Bench v. Ruiz Bench

    INFIELD: Reds

    LF- Ibanez v. Foster Even
    CF – Vic v. Geronimo Vic
    RF – Griffey v. Werth Griffey

    OUTFIELD: The gap between Griffey and Werth is larger than that of Vic and Geronimo. Griffey was a stone cold killer that year.


    Anyone care to disagree?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chooch's Cooches

    Random, but this is from ESPN insider pick center:

    “West coast tussle between Peavy’s current home and Peavy’s perceived future home. Who takes it?”

    Who is perceiving that?

  • Posts: 0 Drewdacri$

    You picked Joe Morgan over Chase Utley!? How does that work?

  • Posts: 0 Steve-o

    Someone mentioned earlier that Bastardo reminded them of a young Pedro, and I couldn’t agree more. Not from such a makeup standpoint, but his intensity and aggressiveness was on par with the old Pedro. I loved that he came out and attacked the hitters.

  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    Even though Amaro said we were in the market for a # 1 pitcher by the trading deadline..I bet that will change if we get even adequate pitching form Bastardo/Carrasco/whoever slot.Its great that were giving an opportunity to these guys …lets see what they can do..

    I was surprised to see Bastardo at 95 mph last night..funny what a little adrenaline will do.

    And lastly,our hitters are awesome…somebody always comes through.Go Phils.

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy


    You might want to check out Joe Morgan’s statistics. He was also MVP that year.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Dispy, your lineup is formidable! I am more familiar with AL teams until the early part of this century. Who on this team could match up to a Pete Rose or a Johnny Bench?
    But I love this team and how they gel. Things should get really hot this summer.
    Chuck! Lofton over Rollins? Lofton was a cancer – good player but a cancer. Who would you rather have on your team?
    Our big daddy sure does not cry dog like Albert Belle did.
    Remember how good a 3rd baseman Ramirez was? Yeah – And as hard a time as I have had with Chooch and his lack of hitting, what a bonus it has been to see a bat back there! The catcher was old at the time. Of course, Sandy Alomar was on the bench -

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Not greatest teams… greatest offense.

    Team stats through 50 games played:

    ’76 Reds
    (31-19), 299 R, 506 H, 46 HR, .286 BA, .436 SLG, .805 OPS
    ’09 Phils
    (30-20), 282 R, 459 H, 74 HR, .266 BA, .472 SLG, .821 OPS

    I would look at the batting order… not fielding.

    1- Rollins/Rose… Rose
    2- Vic/Griffey… Griffey
    3- Utley/Morgan… Morgan (by a hair… can’t argue w/an OPS of 1.020)
    4- Howard/Perez… Howard (Perez hit .260 with 19 HR and 91 RBI)
    5- Ibanez/Foster… Ibanez
    6- Werth/Bench… Werth (Bench hit .234 in ’76 with 74 RBI and 16 HR. He was tremendous postseason… by a hair)
    7- Feliz/Concepcion… Concepcion by a hair…
    8- Ruiz/Geronimo… Geronimo

    I pulled that lineup from the ’76 NLCS lineup card. Interestingly, back then, they used a DH at both stadiums in the WS so I couldn’t use any of them.

    The meat of our lineup was more potent than theirs… the top of their order got it done. Take your pick.

  • Posts: 0 Steve-o

    Here is a real good recap of Bastardo last night.


    if you are interested. It indicates that Bastardo through about 90% fastballs, and zero changeups. He also through 60% strikes.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Brooks- I was judging by their numbers… production… this is an offense only discussion, correct? And we were talking about a specific year, correct? Lofton batted .310 with 54 stolen bases that year… how’s Rollins doing so far? Listen, I hate Lofton but he’s borderline HOF.

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    Chuck P. – FYI, Foster led the league in RBI’s that year. Morgan by a hair? Not quite in ’76.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    Steve -o, As Tim already confirmed in this blog, with a comfortable lead at the outset of the game (4-0), Ruiz with Dubee’s consent called for the heater almost exclusively to ease the pressure on Bastardo. What I’m looking for from Bastardo in his next start (?) is more off speed pitches (including the missing change-up) and how he handles it in tight spot in game situations.

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    man, for a guy who supposedly was too excited to get a proper grip on his breaking pitch, he certainly was throwing some filthy sliders! I saw a few really nasty ones that broke down towards the feet of righties.

    Bastardo’s whole delivery and the angle at which he comes to the plate really reminds me of JC Romero. besides the fact that they are both latino.

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    NJ, respectfully, Chan Ho Park is terrible. With the exception of a season and a half, he always has been. At this point in his career, he should consider himself lucky to be able to pitch for a team who allows him to either come into a game when his team is up 7-1 in the 7th or down 7-1 in the 3rd. I just don’t think his stuff is good and I believe that teams know to wait for his non movin fastball because his breaking stuff is just not strong. Sweetheart of a guy though.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Dean

    To say the Chan Ho has any potential of helping the Phillies is like saying Adam Eaton helped the Phillies win the World Series last year. Both contributed in filling in innings to get us thru the year. That is all they did and probably cost us more games than we care to think about.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Have you seen what Ibanez has done so far this year? Is he not leading the league in RBI’s as well? Does he not have better power numbers? He’s on pace to surpass Foster…

    You’re right with Morgan; my Utley bias was showing. At his best, I think that Utley can be close but Morgan is the guy . 60 SB to go along with 111 RBI’s… that’s unreal.

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