In the old days, a team running out pitchers would wave the white flag by putting a position player in to pitch.
That was said team’s way of saying, “Geez, we’d like to win but we feel it’s more important to preserve our bullpen for the next week.”
The Philadelphia Phillies did not have to do that on Saturday because they have a guy who is certain to preserve the bullpen without going to a position player: left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo.
Bastardo pitched the final inning of the Phillies’ 5-4 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday and just about everyone still left in Citizens Bank Park knew that would be the final inning of the game as soon as Bastardo took off the warm-up jacket. He allowed a walk and a big hit and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
Bastardo and the Mets have a history and it’s not a good one for Bastardo. In the last series Bastardo pitched in New York, Bastardo was pressed into service because regular closer Jonathan Papelbon made himself unavailable due to what he said was a “sore neck.”
That Sunday, Bastardo magically turned a 4-1 victory into a 5-4 defeat due to one of the worst ninth innings an erstwhile closer ever had. This Saturday, though, Bastardo turned a 4-4 game into another 5-4 defeat, wasting a brilliant effort in relief from Jeff Manship, who put down the first 12 Mets he faced in order and pitched four scoreless innings in a 14-inning game.
If that doesn’t tell Phillies’ manager Ryne Sandberg to avoid Bastardo like the plague, nothing will. That should be the last game Bastardo ever pitches for the Phillies.