08/12/2011 11:20 AM ET
Bastardo: Adjustments key to success
Phillies reliever is thriving in his first full big league season
I think one of the big reasons that I am enjoying the season is that I have made some important adjustments this year. The key adjustments have been keeping the ball down in the zone and improving my breaking pitch. Things can really come together for you when you go out there and consistently make good pitches.
Those are the things I really focused on in Spring Training. I put in a lot of work. When I started throwing, my arm felt really comfortable. Even in the spring I was consistently able to keep the ball down, and it has really helped me a lot. I made good pitches then, and I have carried that over into my bullpen sessions during the season, and I have carried that mindset out onto the field with me. It has been about throwing the ball well and hitting those spots.
That was really my plan and that was really my focus coming into Spring Training. I had my mind focused on what I had to do and what I needed to do to stay up here with the Phillies for an entire year for the first time.
I think putting in the work is important, but it is also about your mindset. That has been something I really have focused on. It is a mentality. My body has been strong enough for me, and I feel the same power in my arm, but you always have to think about it, you always have to keep your mind focused.
I am always thinking about where and how I can control the ball and not trying to throw too hard or try and do too much out there. It is about doing exactly what I want to do.
This winter I also put in the work physically. I did my lifting during the entire winter time. I ran a lot. All of that work has helped me this year.
While I am pleased with my numbers so far, I think I can always get better every day. You have good games and bad games and great games, but it is more about having success and not having failures. That is part of my mindset -- always try and have a good outing.
Combine that with how the team is playing right now and this season overall, and almost everything is perfect.
Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo has nearly been perfect this year. He has a 5-0 record with a 1.41 ERA and is 8-for-8 in save opportunities. He has also struck out 50 batters in 44 2/3 innings pitched, a career high for the left-hander from the Dominican Republic.