Unless you were into the Father’s Day fedora giveaway, there wasn’t much for Phillies fans to cheer about at the ballpark yesterday. The team didn’t get a hit until the sixth inning and never threatened to score in a 3-0 loss to the Cubs (one of the few National League teams worse than the Phillies). There was one bright spot: In the ninth inning, Phillies rookie relief pitcher Ken Giles lit up the radar gun with a 101 mph fastball. It was the loudest cheer all game!
The rookie, who hit 100 mph and gave up a homer in his first game in the majors, completed his first perfect inning in yesterday’s game. Giles, a 23-year-old, adds an 88 mph slider to his blazing fastball.
Just last year, Giles had a 6.31 ERA in Class A Clearwater, struggled with control and spent two stints on the DL with oblique injuries. The Phillies tinkered with his mechanics last summer to help him avoid injury, and he responded with a solid season in the Arizona Fall League and a good spring training. "I don't think he's far away at all," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said as spring training ended.
The Phillies drafted Giles in the seventh round of the 2011 amateur draft. Earlier this spring, he told CSN's John Finger he relishes the relief role: "Since Day 1 I knew I was going to be a reliever. I never was going to be the stud pitcher. When I was young I always wanted to be a closer or a reliever — a go-to guy … I like it when it’s really challenging — I want to be the first guy out of that 'pen.”
He could be a young, cheap Phillies closer. "So while command issues can be frustrating, baseball history is loaded with pitchers who were wild in their formative years but became stellar as they developed," former major league scout Bernie Pleskoff wrote last year. "I see that pattern as a high probability with Giles."
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