Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper beware: Antonio Bastardo is tough on lefties

Of all the numbers you’ll see on newest New York Mets lefty Antonio Bastardo, one should stick out the most.

Mets-killer Freddie Freeman is 0-for-19 against Bastardo in his career. Freeman does have three walks, but he also has nine strikeouts.

The Mets cooled off Freeman a bit last season, but he’s still hitting a robust .296 with 16 home runs in 88 games against them in his career. Over the last four seasons, he has 61 RBIs in 71 games versus the Mets.

Freeman isn’t the only prominent NL East lefty whom Bastardo gives trouble. Bryce Harper is 2-for-12 with seven strikeouts (and two walks) against him. Go outside the NL East and you’ll find new Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, who is 2-for-19 with seven strikeouts against Bastardo.

Left-handed hitters hit .138 against Bastardo last season, the 10th-lowest batting average among those who faced at least 50 left-handed hitters. Bastardo’s 2015 slashline versus lefties nearly a duplicate of Tyler Clippard’s.

Bastardo: .138/.233/.215

Clippard: .137/.231/.237

This is not to say that Bastardo is strictly a lefty-on-lefty pitcher. His new teammate, Juan Lagares, is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts against him, as is Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton (with two walks). Ryan Zimmerman is 0-for-7 with three whiffs. But there’s a little bit more of an adventure with right-handed hitters because of Bastardo’s high walk rate (he has walked at least four batters per nine innings in each of the last six seasons).

Though past performance certainly doesn't guarantee future results, most who face Bastardo are going to tell you he’s a challenge to hit. Why? One scout provided this take:

“He pitches above the strike zone with good velocity. He has hop to his fastball. He’s deceptive at the top of the zone. He’s tough to see for a hitter. The ball gets in on them quickly.”

Freeman, Harper and Heyward would no doubt agree.