"Whether it's mechanical or whatever it is, he's just missing out of the zone," the Phillies manager said. "It's been more significant this year than in the past. It's something that he just has to work on; you need those strikes coming out of the bullpen."
Bastardo pitched again Thursday. He walked the first batter he faced for the ninth time in 24 outings. He escaped with a double-play ball.
Bastardo has issued 18 walks in 232/3 innings this season, a rate of 6.8 walks per nine innings. His walk rate before 2014 was 4.2 per nine. He has thrown first-pitch strikes to 54.4 percent of batters one season after doing it 68.7 percent of the time.
The $2 million reliever said his extra work Thursday focused on his rotation; he believed his right arm and torso were flying open. He wants to center his body on a straight line to home plate.
Sandberg used Bastardo in the sixth inning Wednesday. That is unfamiliar territory for the pitcher, who has occupied the seventh and eighth innings in recent seasons. It was his fifth time pitching in the sixth since 2010.
Jake Diekman, who allowed a go-ahead homer Wednesday, has inherited Bastardo's important situations.
"I like that right now where we stand," Sandberg said.
Lee not cleared
Cliff Lee again was examined by team doctors, but the status quo prevailed. The lefthander has not been cleared to throw because of an elbow strain. There was a "little, slight sensation" still in Lee's elbow, Sandberg said.
Lee will be evaluated on a daily basis to monitor any changes.
"In the meantime, he's getting lower-body work," Sandberg said, "and he's getting his running in and doing everything else other than throwing."
Jimmy Rollins played in his 2,000th game Wednesday, becoming just the second Phillies player to do so. Mike Schmidt played in 2,404 games. . . . The Phillies' comeback Wednesday marked the first time all season they won when trailing after eight innings. Their record was 0-21 before that. . . . This five-game series with the Mets is the Phillies' first since July 2006 against Florida at Citizens Bank Park.