Beerleaguer asked Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to handicap the race between Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona last night during the Winter Tour stop in Reading.
"Bastardo was lights out yesterday in the Dominican," Amaro said. "He’s been outstanding this winter, pitching very well." Phillies officials who've monitored the young lefty's offseason have been excited by the results, watching him throw 2 1-3 perfect innings with three strikeouts Wednesday night in the Dominican Winter League finals. Bastardo also earned the victory in Tuesday's game, striking out three over 1 2-3 innings. All told, Bastardo has pitched in 17 innings this postseason, allowing just four hits, three walks while striking out 26 for an ERA of 0.53.
"Escalona has not been as consistent," he said," but we’ll match them up in spring training and they’ll get to pitch a lot." Asked if the Phillies have closed the door on Bastardo as a starter: "Absolutely," he said. "He’s no longer a starter for us; we think he’s going to be much more effective as a bullpen piece."