The other day we were told that Antonio Bastardo doesn’t speak very much English. In fact, in order for him to communicate with the scribes a translator would need to be found before the rookie lefty got on the bus for the trip to the airport.
At least that’s what we were told.
Now my grasp of Spanish is probably only as good as Bastardo’s English, I reasoned. As it related to baseball, I once caught Jose Mesa and Bobby Abreu making fun of me in Spanish in an elevator in Baltimore. When I laughed out loud at the jokey insults, Jose and Bobby clammed up quick.
Hey, McCaskey kids know all the Spanish curse words.
But imagine my surprise when I saw the kid speaking a language I knew reasonably well on my web site. You can hear it, too, when you go over to CSNPhilly.com along with one where Raul Ibanez translates for the winning pitcher.
Is there anything Raul can’t do?
Plus, the TV cameras showed the rookie talking about his first outing with Jamie Moyer in the dugout during the seventh inning after he had been lifted. Who knew Moyer’s Spanish was so good?
Nevertheless, it must have been an interesting conversation between the 46-year-old, 23-season veteran and the 23-year-old lefty after his first game.
Tangents aside, it was a very impressive debut for the 23-year-old prospect recently compared to Johan Santana – that is if Santana threw 95 and had no need for a changeup. Frankly, Bastardo didn’t need that changeup either – or any other pitch – thanks to the big lead the offense spotted him. It has to be easier facing a flu-ridden Jake Peavy in a big-league debut after a first-inning four-spot.
No sense jerking around with a big lead – just rear back and throw the gas. Even the rookie knew that.
Beaming after the victory in San Diego, manager Charlie Manuel (yep, the video is on the CSNPhilly.com) was impressed that the kid got by with just one pitch.
“He was on a rush and you couldn’t slow him down if you had to,” the skipper said. “He did one thing real good and that was to be aggressive and he wasn’t afraid to throw the ball. He has a good changeup and a breaking ball, but he was gripping the ball and trying to throw it, so there wasn’t much action. But he did a super job, but he did it with one pitch.”
He’ll need more than the gas on Sunday when he pitches at Dodger Stadium, but in the meantime it’s a pretty gutty start.
As far as recent debuts for the Phillies’ prospects go, however, Bastardo fits in pretty well. Not quite as good as Brett Myers or Carlton Loewer, but pretty good nonetheless (links to box scores):
Antonio Bastardo at Padres on June 2, 2009: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K for win
Kyle Kendrick vs. White Sox on June 13, 2007: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K for a ND
Scott Mathieson vs. Devil Rays on June 17, 2006: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K for Loss
Cole Hamels vs. Reds on May 12, 2006: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 7 K for ND
Gavin Floyd vs. Mets on Sept. 3, 2004: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K for Win
Brett Myers at Cubs on July 24, 2002: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K for Win
Brandon Duckworth vs. Padres on Aug., 7, 2001: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K for Win
David Coggin at Expos on June 23, 2000: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 4 K for Win
Randy Wolf vs. Blue Jays on June 11, 1999: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K for Win
Carlton Loewer vs. Cubs on June 14, 1998: 9 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K for Win
Meanwhile, prospect Kyle Drabek pitches in Reading tonight in the former first-round picks’ first outing above Single-A. Perhaps a dubious weather forecast for Thursday pushed up the outing by a day?