CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies expect to see a more effective Antonio Bastardo this season.
They can be more judicious in how they use the left-hander because they have right-hander Mike Adams pitching the eighth, setting up Bastardo for more favorable matchups. Plus, they believe Bastardo figured out a few things late in the season, which should help him regardless of when he is used.
Bastardo carried a 5.45 ERA through 47 appearances through Aug. 21, but had a 1.29 ERA in 18 appearances the rest of the way.
"There was something," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "Not delivery-wise as much as it was using both sides of the plate. He was dominant right-handed in, fastball and slider behind it. He did not pitch away very much to right-handed hitters. He started using both sides of the plate more."
Bastardo pitched consistently well against left-handers throughout the season. Lefties hit just .169 with a .569 OPS against him.
"When was he up and down?" Dubee asked. "Was he up and down against the left-handers he faced? They sat down mostly. They sat down. He was up and down against the meat of a right-handed-hitting lineup. You call that up and down? You run any lefty against that over and over again, you're going to get burned. I don't care who he is. Look at [Matt] Thornton, look at Jonny Venters. Those guys had to go through the meats of right-handed hitting lineups, they struggled. They struggled. Antonio got placed in some tough spots.
"Antonio's fine. He's fine. Like I said the other day: Put him out there. Put him on the wire and see if 29 teams don't come calling. You don't think they do?"