Big night for Bastardo, Savery

"I can't command my slider," Antonio Bastardo admitted Sunday. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP)

Two lefties had impressive showings in Tuesday night's victory over the Braves, which helped plunge the playoff picture into further turmoil. One of those lefties is expected to be an integral part of the postseason roster. The other is headed to Clearwater to continue his transformation from washed-up starting pitching prospect to potential lefty relief specialist. We'll spend more time on Joe Savery, since everybody is pretty up to date on where things stand with Antonio Bastardo (Cliffs Notes: last night, he looked exactly like the pitcher who spent most of the regular season dominating the National League).

Savery is an intriguing case simply because the Phillies do not have a second lefty, and the one they do have is Bastardo, who until last night had allowed runs in five of seven outings. That's not to suggest that the Phillies would ever have thought about favoring Savery over Bastardo. But on a roster that is expected to include seven relievers, some of whom may never throw a pitch, you might think that the Phillies would err on the side of keeping a lefty like Savery over one of the plethroa of right-handed converted starters they currently have in the 'Pen.

But while Savery has had some success in his limited action, retiring eight of the nine batters he has faced, including southpaw sluggers Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman last night, pitching coach Rich Dubee made it clear that Savery does not have enough time to prove himself for the postseason.

"That's why he's going down to Clearwater," Dubee said.

Long story short: the Phillies are not comfortable enough to use Savery in a big spot in the postseason. He has only logged 2 2/3 major league innings. As recently as this summer, he was preparing for life after baseball. As sharp as he may have looked last night, the Phillies still would be more apt to call on any of a number of pitchers to face a lefty in a big spot than they would Savery. Vance Worley has good numbers on lefties this season. Kyle Kendrick has drastically improved his splits. Last night, he retired Chipper Jones on a couple of cutters then struck out Freddie Freeman on an impressive sequence that included a perfect change-up for strike two. The presence of Worley, Mike Stutes and Brad Lidge could let the Phillies use Bastardo in a match-up role rather than handing him the eighth inning as they did for most of the season.

Long story short, Savery is not a postseason option. Certainly, though, he presents an intriguing possibility for next year's regular season roster.


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