Antonio Bastardo is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 65/19 K/BB ratio in 52 innings, but in case that doesn’t effectively convey his dominance for the Phillies this season Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has an eye-opening stat on the 25-year-old southpaw:
His .112 opponents’ batting average? It currently is the lowest in baseball history for any pitcher with 50 or more innings in a season. Eric Gagne held opponents to a .133 average in 2003, which is the second-best in baseball history.
That’s the year Gagne saved 55 games with a 1.20 ERA for the Dodgers and won the Cy Young award while finishing sixth in the MVP voting.
Bastardo won’t be winning any hardware, but his emergence alongside Ryan Madson is a huge factor in Philadelphia’s championship chances and has allowed the Phillies to rely less and less on former closer Brad Lidge.
Bastardo has been impossible to hit versus lefties (.127) and righties (.103), at home (.105) and on the road (.117), in the first half (.103) and the second half (.127), and with the bases empty (.119) or with runners in scoring position (.094). His opponents’ batting averages by month? .118, .188, .152, .121. And so far in September opponents are 0-for-4.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.
This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.
I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.
Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.
Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.
His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.
Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.
Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.