New York Mets LHP Antonio Bastardo was charged with three earned runs in the eighth inning Sunday without recording an out in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Bastardo has given up 14 runs over his last 13 appearances, and his ERA has risen more than three runs since May 14, when it was 2.16.
"Physically, everything is OK, I'm just having some trouble with my fastball command and just locating my pitches," he said after Sunday's game. "I need to make some mechanical adjustments."
A year after recording a 2.98 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Mets signed Bastardo to a two-year, $12 million deal. But in 29 games, Bastardo has a 5.46 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, giving up 30 hits and 18 walks in 29 innings pitched.
"It's all about commanding his fastball," manager Terry Collins said. "When he falls behind on his fastball, it gets him in trouble, and that's what he's been doing,"
He had a nice stretch from late April to early May. Otherwise, he's been very inconsistent all season and mostly used in less-than-critical situations. It'd be easier to continue to hide him, if not for Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins and Hansel Robles being so overworked. But that may be the issue. Bastardo will need more work to find his groove. The thing is, that means pitching him and what if he keeps struggling, what if he never gets on track? It's a Catch-22.