Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bastardo Wins Debut...with a Lot of Help

For one night, Antonio Bastardo made Phillies fans (well, those who stayed up for the game) forget about Brett Myers. Facing Jake Peavy, who many fans would love to see take Myers' former (and Bastardo's current) spot in the rotation, Bastardo had an impressive debut...and Peavy got shelled.

Wins do not get much easier than they did for Bastardo tonight, as the Phillies took advantage of the flu-ridden Peavy in the top of the first, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on RBI doubles by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, plus a Greg Dobbs sacrifice fly.

Bastardo had a little trouble finding the strike zone in the bottom of the first, throwing 13 balls out of 23 pitches, but no real harm came of it. He walked Adrian Gonzalez (not a bad strategy, frankly) and struck out two. He would run into some trouble later in the game, but nothing that would come back to haunt him. He looked impressive, sporting a live fastball that reached 95 mph and some decent off-speed stuff. The only run he surrendered was a solo homer to Gonzalez in the fifth.

It didn't hurt that Raul Ibanez had a huge day (though not unusual for him this season), going 3 for 5 with 2 HR, a double, and 5 RBI. Dobbs also homered and Bastardo left the game after six innings with an 8-1 lead.

It would, however, get a little interesting, thanks to one Chan Ho Park. Park entered in the seventh and gave up four runs, including a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies then turned to the more-reliable Chad Durbin to finish off the game. He got through an uneventful eighth inning, but loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs. Ryan Madson took Durbin's place and finished off the game in one pitch, inducing a Kevin Kouzmanoff groundout to give the Phillies their fifth straight win and a 2.5 game cushion over the Mets in the NL East.

While it was only one game, Bastardo was impressive and seemingly lessened the need to make a trade for a big name starter. Still, it's a long season and it will take a few more starts to judge if he really belongs in the majors.

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