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Philadelphia Phillies' Antonio Bastardo needs to adjust his game

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Antonio Bastardo continues to demonstrate his lack of baseball knowledge. While this Philadelphia Phillies' left-hander has showed potential in past seasons, his overall lack of game smarts reflects upon the player himself and upon the organization as a whole. How to resolve this matter is a large, open-question.

This 28-year-old is far from the worst pitcher in red pinstripes. But, he's clearly the most frustrating talent on the staff, as evidence by his relinquishing a sure-win against the New York Mets on Mother's Day.

Having a good arm doesn't make someone a pitcher. But, a developing blend of physical ability and professional experience should make a player better. However, all baseball players face challenges during their careers.

Sabermatricians are often revealed as not seeing the human side to the game they love to strictly analyze. A 'new school' baseball student can engage many fierce old-school dogs in every analytics argument that he, or she, so chooses. But, at the end of the inning, game, series, season or whatever other numerical mark each side debates, heart can't be shown on any digital screen.

Bastardo's baseball card reveals that he's pitching in his sixth major league season. An overall review of his work to-date offers seeming evidence that he's been generally effective. However, anyone who has consistently observed his mound performance knows that 2011 and parts of last season were the only sections of his diamond resume that have shined.

This season Ryne Sandberg's top left-handed reliever has failed on numerous occasions for the same reason that he's slumped before: A lack of confidence, which in turn leads to erratic pitch placement. Plus, of course, nearly no killer instinct to be found.

This humble author would consider trading Bastardo if he isn't able to increase his plate control this season. His age and health status give general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. the option of dealing a decent commodity (in terms of potential and perception) to another club for another player, or in a package deal to fill the Phillies' many roster holes.

The proverbial 'change of scenery' appears to be the best course of action to take right now. And, it could soon be time for the Phillies to facilitate that move.

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