If the Phillies are to get above .500 in the National League standings they will need a power pitcher to come out of the pen in the eight inning and dominate in a set up role. On Monday night I saw one of the most dominating pitching performances in the eight inning of a baseball game this season by anyone in the Phillies organization.
Never mind that the Clearwater Threshers lost Monday night’s game to the Charlotte Stone Crabs 11-0. It was not the score that was important, as is the case so much of the time in minor league baseball, but what happened in the game. It is all about which player is ready to move up to the next level to help the major league club at some point. Ken Giles showed why he has the best arm out of the bullpen in the Phillies system and is ready to help.
When Giles struck out the side swinging in the eight inning, he had everything working. The pitches he threw to those three helpless Tampa Bay Rays prospects were nothing but major league stuff: a high 90′s fastballs, unhittable low 90′s sliders to go with excellent command and control. The best they could do was foul off a couple of his pitches. No way were they going to put his pitches in play. His best pitching sequence was his second strike out when he seemed to take a little off his sliders and induced a weak swing and miss from Stone Crabs hitter Kes Carter. No major league batter could have touched that pitch after the bottom dropped out of it as the ball broke wickedly over the plate.
At the major league level the Phillies desperately need a right-handed power arm out of the pen like the one Giles possesses. He has battled back from lower back problems which had plagued him earlier this season. He is ready to move on up right now to AA or AAA. He has nothing left to prove in the Florida State League to see if he can continue to repeat what he did Monday night in the eight inning of the Threshers game in Clearwater. I have no doubt in my mind at some point he can help the Phillies down the road to get into the post season not next year but before this season is over.