NEW YORK -- Lefthander Antonio Bastardo was dominant for much of the season but has struggled in his last several outings. At first, it was thought that he was just tired. Even after being given plenty of rest, though, he still had trouble getting hitters out.
After last Wednesday night’s outing, when Bastardo gave up a run on 2 hits against Washington, manager Charlie Manuel observed that it almost looked like the Nationals knew what was coming.
Maybe they did.
Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee both said before tonight’s scheduled game against the Mets that they believe they’ve discovered how Bastardo was tipping his pitches and made the necessary correction.
“I think we’ve hit on something and hopefully we have," Dubee said. "When you saw the swings Washington took off him the other day, you’re not supposed to hit some of the balls they hit.
“I mean, he threw a couple down sliders that [Ryan] Zimmerman hit and [Jonny] Gomes just missed. We’re not talking about lazy sliders that are up in the strike zone. We’re talking about sliders with depth and action to them. So hopefully we’ve hit on the right thing.”
Through July 15, Bastardo had an 0.79 earned run average. In 25 appearances since: 4.37.
Bastardo said he was happy to know that there was a reason why he was getting hit even though his velocity is fine. He indicated that he was lifting his finger off the ball when he threw a slider and added that he also thought he’ll get better break on the pitch when he stops doing that.
Tonight's game was rained out. A day/night doubleheader will be played Saturday, with Cole Hamels pitching the opener at 1:10 and Joe Blanton starting the 7:10 nightcap.
Sunday's game has been pushed back to a 2:10 start time,
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