Well, the pitching news wasn't all bad. . .
Although Cliff Lee allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves Friday night, Antonio Bastardo gave Phillies fans a reason to be excited about the future of the club's bullpen. The 25-year-old lefty turned in a dynamite performance in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing a base hit to Chipper Jones and then striking out the final six batters he faced.
Bastardo mowed through the heart of the Braves' order, striking out Brian McCann on a 94 MPH fastball, Dan Uggla on a slider, Jason Heyward on a slider, Alex Gonzalez on a 95 MPH fastball, Freddie Freeman on a slider, and Tim Hudson on a 94 MPH fastball.
The six straight strikeouts -- all of them swinging -- tied the Phillies record for a reliever, set first by Jack Meyer in 1958 and then equaled by Willie Heranndez in 1983.
Prior to the Phillies' game against the Mets on Wednesday, I asked pitching coach Rich Dubee what the uber-talented Bastardo had to do to earn the Phillies trust and work his way toward the back of the bullpen.