Thursday, September 1, 2011

2009 Topps Heritage #515 Antonio Bastardo

Phillies 6, Reds 4
Game 133 - Thursday Afternoon, September 1st in Cincinnati

One Sentence Summary:  Vance Worley and Antonio Bastardo starred in a Thursday matinee win against the Reds, 6-4.

What It Means:  It's getting historic around here.  For the third time in franchise history, the team is 41 games over .500, and the win capped the Phillies' first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since 1916.  They reached the +41 game mark twice in 1976.

With a record of 87-46, the Phillies enter the weekend series in Florida with no worse than a 7 1/2 game lead in the East.  Their magic number to clinch a play-off spot is 12, and the magic number to clinch the division is 21.  (I promised myself I wouldn't start posting magic numbers until September.)

What Went Right:  Worley (10-1) continued his awesome rookie campaign with another solid effort over 6+ innings.  His line for the day would have been much better if not for a three-run home run from Chris Heisey in the seventh.  Bastardo turned in another great relief performance, inducing an inning-ending double play in the seventh and striking out the side in the eighth.

Ryan Howard (30th) and Michael Martinez (3rd) contributed home runs for the Phils.

Featured Card:  As Todd Zolecki pointed out in his game recap, Bastardo is having an unbelievable season as the Phillies primary left-handed set-up reliever/occasional closer.  He is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.  But read this nifty tidbit:
Opponents are hitting just .112 against him.  That's the lowest opponent batting average of any player with at least 50 innings pitched in any season in baseball history.
That's worth reading again.  Bastardo is enjoying a season with potential historic significance, and yet he hasn't appeared on a mainstream baseball card since 2009.  (Unless you count the Phillies team issued sets or Chachi cards.)  I haven't scanned the 2011 Topps Update checklist yet, but I hope Bastardo has a card in the set.

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