Antonio Bastardo is unhittable

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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.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.