As a lefty myself, its nice to see the Phillies adhering to the idea of “lefties do everything right.” The Phils defied common baseball logic by stacking three left handed hitters in a row in the middle of the line-up. But Utley, Howard and Ibanez have combined for 46 home runs and 130 RBI in the first 50 games. That is some pretty impressive production. Charlie Manuel deserves credit for never trying to force Jayson Werth or Shane Victorino in there to break them. Instead, he left the heart of the order as it should be—with the three best hitters right in the middle. Good hitters can hit anybody. Both Ibanez (.333) and Utley (.311) have excelled against south paws. In fact, Utley has a better average versus lefties than he does against righties.
So with lefty success in the line-up, the Phillies didn’t hesitate to add another lefty to their rotation. Bastardo joined fellow lefties Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and JA Happ to go along with lone right-hander Joe Blanton. Just as many cursed the idea of three lefties in a line-up, many also called 4 lefties in a rotation blasphemy saying “teams will just stack their line-ups with righties.”
Instead of following baseball’s unwritten rules of right-vs.-left, the Phillies instead added the pitcher that they believed gave them the best chance to win. Bastardo had been dominating the minors and earned a chance to pitch with the big club. Why should he be penalized just because he throws with his left arm? Answer: he shouldn’t. At this point in time, he was the best option for the Phillies. And they should keep this in mind when pursuing a possible trade. Don’t shy away from a guy like Erik Bedard just because he’s left handed. If he can help this team win then go get him.
It has been working for the line-up, so why can’t it work for the rotation?