PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' bullpen continues to be an area of concern. Their two top left-handers, Antonio Bastardo and Jake Diekman, have been sources of inconsistency.
Bastardo, who threw 12 of his first 14 pitches Wednesday night for balls, is walking batters at a career-high rate. His 6.7 BB/9 in 2014 is 2.2 higher than his next highest mark in a season. He walked one more Thursday night in two-thirds of an inning in a 4-1 loss to the Mets.
"I think in the past, he's been a little bit better throwing some some strikes out of the 'pen, especially against, maybe more so, to left-handed [hitters]," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Whether it's mechanical, or whatever it is, he's just missing out of the zone. It's been more significant this year than in the past. Something that he just has to work on. You need those strikes coming out of the bullpen."
Diekman, meanwhile, has gotten the job done against left-handed bats, holding them to a .135 batting average. But righties are hitting at a .290 clip and have a .378 on-base percentage.
Sandberg insists that he doesn't view Diekman as a lefty specialist.
"I still like him against right-handers or left-handers," Sandberg said. "For me, he's a full inning guy, righties or lefties, from what I've seen. A guy that throws 96-98 [mph], I think he's come a long with his location and mixing up both sides of the plate with the fastball."
Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.