Who's next as Phillies closer?
Well, when the first, second and now third closer-options on a team hit the disabled list, it's time to look at a pair of fellows who weren't guaranteed to make the team back in late March. Such is the state for baseball's top team, as Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, where he can play cards with injured former closers Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras.
The Phillies likely will hand the ninth-inning duties to left-hander Antonio Bastardo, though rookie right-hander Michael Stutes should also be in the mix. Bastardo is having a terrific season, and unlike former teammate J.C. Romero, his role isn't merely to handle lefty hitters. With Atlanta Braves lefty Jonny Venters blowing up in a recent outing, Bastardo sports the lowest ERA for any relief pitcher this season, at 0.96 (minimum 20 innings). His WHIP is 0.86, and he's permitting left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters to a .118 and .121 batting average, respectively. In 10 June appearances covering 8 1/3 innings, he has allowed one hit and no runs. Owned in 12.7 percent of ESPN standard (10-team) leagues, Bastardo can handle the closing role for however long it lasts, and makes for a wise addition in all leagues, even if the save chances don't last.
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