Ryan Howard went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, the 19th time he has struck out four or more times in a game. Click here for the rest.
Roy Oswalt wasn’t sharp, but the Padres came into the night with the second-worst offense in the league, averaging 3.33 runs per game. Even worse, they had been shut out four times in 18 games. Oswalt and the Phillies’ bullpen made it five.
Antonio Bastardo was impressive. Charlie Manuel needed him to pitch multiple innings to allow Ryan Madson a night off, and Bastardo looked very sharp. Despite allowing a walk and a hit in one and one-third innings, he struck out two batters in impressive fashion, bringing his K/9 up to 12.4. His 4.5 BB/9 won’t fly over a larger sample of innings — if Bastardo can improve his control, the Phillies may have yet another late-innings weapon in the bullpen to go along with Madson and Jose Contreras.
David Herndon was, as usual, not impressive. As depressing as this is to realize, he is a poor man’s Kyle Kendrick. Herndon has struck out only two hitters while walking five in eight innings of work. There really is no reason why the Phillies should be carrying him on the roster, especially since they seem intent on keeping Kendrick around.
Contreras needed 26 pitches to get through the ninth inning. A tight strike zone didn’t help, but it marked the fourth appearance in which Contreras needed 20 or more pitches to get three outs. Thankfully, he is five-for-five in save opportunities. Maybe a day off will let him recharge the ol’ batteries.
Overall, Phillies hitters did a much better job of working counts, making the starting pitcher throw more pitches, and getting into the opposing team’s bullpen earlier. Previously, I had written that the Phillies were doing poorly in that regard, but they forced Padre pitchers to throw 174 pitches to 42 hitters, an average of 4.1 pitches per batter. Phillies hitters drew seven walks in total, a season-high.
The Phillies improve to 12-6 with Cole Hamels slated to start tomorrow against Clayton Richard at 7:05 ET.