The Philadelphia Phillies have taken the first two games from the Boston Red Sox and have improved upon the best record in MLB.
A masterpiece from Cliff Lee was almost expected after the dominance he has displayed the entire month of June, but a one-run effort from Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo against the Red Sox was inspiring.
Bastardo and Stutes have had nothing short of spectacular seasons to this point, and they both deserve an all-star nod for their efforts.
Bastardo has been dazzling since the season started and he has posted a ridiculous 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has a 3-0 record.
The young lefty has proved that he is fearless and is capable of pitching in any capacity and doing quite well. Left-handed hitters are hitting a minuscule .118 against Bastardo on the season, but he is no left-handed specialist.
Right-handed hitters are struggling against him as well at only .121.
His fastball seems to explode out of his hands and can consistently reach the mid-90s. He has finally seemed to control his devastating slider, and hopefully he can remain healthy and keep his dominance rolling.
Antonio Bastardo is clearly worthy of an all-star nod, but will he get any love from the NL coaches? Charlie Manuel surely knows how important Bastardo has been to the Phillies and you can bet he will be pushing hard for the Phightins' unsung hero.
Then there is Michael Stutes. He endeared himself to Phillies Nation with his fearless demeanor and wild and crazy hair. The fact that he openly answers fans' tweets doesn't hurt either.
The 24-year-old out of Oregon State has consistently been put in crucial situations against some of the best teams in the league, and he has passed more times than not with flying colors.
Stutes is 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2011. Incredibly, he has only allowed 15 hits in more than 25 innings pitched thus far. His fastball is electric (like Bastardo's) and he has drastically improved his secondary pitches.
Lefty hitters are only hitting .222 against Stutes, but that looks terrific considering right-handed batters are hitting just .146.
Both young pitchers keep the ball in the park and have steadied what many considered to be a weakness heading into the season.
It is time that Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo are given credit, because credit is surely due to this point.
Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes should be representing the National League in the 2011 All-Star Game.
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