On a chilly Monday evening in South Philly, a 22 year old made his major league debut on the bump for the 8-11 Phillies, fresh off the heels of a late inning win on Sunday over the Cardinals. Jonathan Pettibone pitched 5 1/3 innings, striking out 6 walking none and allowing 2 runs, both of them solo home runs off the bats of Pedro Alvarez in the third and Russell Martin in the fifth. Pettibone faced off against A.J. Burnett who was wild at times but left the game with his team still having a chance for victory. That just wasn’t in the cards for the Pirates on this night.
The Phillies played one of their most sound defensive games of the year with players making smart decisions all over the field. Domonic Brown threw out Russell Martin in the second trying to stretch a single into a double. John Mayberry Jr made a diving catch (Video Here) in the first to escape trouble. The Phillies turned two double plays to erase any kind of Pirate threat. The offense got a clutch two out hit Jimmy Rollins to score Erik Kratz in the sixth for the go-ahead and eventual winning run. The bullpen pitched well for the final 3 2/3 innings allowing only 2 hits while striking out 5. Raul Valdes picked up his first win of the season while Jonathan Papelbon earned his 4th save in as many chances.
While I was only able to catch the beginning and end of the game it seemed to me that everyone was pleased with Pettibone’s performance and that has likely earned him another start against the Mets this weekend in New York. Jonathan’s family flew in from California for the game as well. His father Jay, was also a major league pitcher in late 1983 for the Minnesota Twins. Jay pitched a complete game in his debut but in 4 starts he was unable to obtain a victory. I think Jonathan’s future is bright if he continues to grow as a pitcher and can learn from the likes of Hamels, Halladay, and Lee.
The offense is still a huge concern for me going forward even though they were able to get the clutch hit in the game they also were a paltry 2-12 with runners in scoring position which includes a 0-3 effort with the bases loaded in the 4th. These kinds of opportunities would have allowed the Phillies to put the Pirates away early in the game instead of having to win the game late. The lack of extra base hits continues to be a problem as well. If the Phillies want to contend this year, they will have to be able to consistently score 3-4 runs per game to give them a chance. This pitching staff will keep them in most games and it will be up to guys like Rollins, Utley, and Howard to produce. The question of offensive consistently will likely haunt the Phillies going forward. I hope the return of Carlos Ruiz this Sunday will help too.
As always, keep Phighting!
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