Results tagged ‘ Ken Giles ’
I spoke this afternoon to Ken Giles, whom the Phillies sent to Houston in a seven-player trade.
Here is his reaction:
What do you think about it and leaving Philly?
I’m going to miss the city of Philadelphia and the fans there. They were there for me since they drafted me and the Phillies helped me develop and get to the big leagues. Stuff like this happens. It’s a business and you’ve got to move on. I know they’re rebuilding. Matt told me how the organization thought so highly of me and how the fans will love me there. He said it was really hard to let someone like me go. He has to look out for what’s best for the organization and I understand that. He’s looking out for me as well. It’s one of those things like, I wish the Phillies the best of luck. Sooner rather than later something special is going to happen in that organization.
Maybe you’ll get to face them in the World Series in a few years.
Hey, you never know. Maybe I’ll be the guy everybody in Philly hates just because I was a Phillie then won a World Series against them. You never know. I could be that guy.
Houston took a big step forward this year. You could be pitching in a lot of big games the next several years.
I’m very excited to be part of what they have going on right now. I watched them throughout the season and postseason. They were just unbelievable, doing something incredible last year. It was just really special to watch. Even though they got knocked out they should be proud of themselves. That’s a big accomplishment. To be able to go into that organization like that, I’m very happy to be a part of it.
The Astros said no bullpen roles have been determined. I know you want to close, but does it matter to you?
As of right now I’m just there to be a good teammate and do anything I can to help them take that next step forward. That’s all I’m going to focus on. Whatever they decide, that’s their decision. I’m going to be a good team player. Whatever they want me to do, if that’s what’s best for the team that’s what I’m going to do.
But Giles left the eighth inning of today’s 10-6 loss to the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium with what he described as tightness in the middle of his back. Giles said he is not worried about it and fully expects to be ready to pitch Opening Day, if needed. But the Phillies hardly want Giles to risk something worse, so his availability Monday against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park is far from certain.
In fact, they probably will want to be cautious with him. There is no reason to push him in early April in a season without postseason expectations.
“It’s just stiff,” Giles said. “It doesn’t hurt. I’m able to move around and stuff.”
“I’m a little concerned with that, a little concerned with that,” Ryne Sandberg said.
No kidding. Giles is a big reason why the Phillies’ bullpen could be the team’s lone strength in 2015. Giles went 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA and one save in 44 appearances last season. He allowed 25 hits, 11 walks and struck out 64 in 45 2/3 innings. Giles’ 0.79 WHIP was fifth among rookie relief pitchers since 1914. His 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio is sixth, and his 12.61 strikeouts-per-nine innings average ranked 10th.
Giles touches 100 mph with his fastball, but his velocity has been down this spring.
It hit 95 mph Tuesday.
“It’s hard to tell if that has to do with his lower velocity,” Sandberg said about the back tightness. “I’m just waiting to see him get checked out, waiting to see what it is.”
“For me, I think that’s perfect, where I need to be,” Giles said about his velocity. “I don’t want to be too in shape when I go in the season, then when the season goes on I kind of wear down. So around where I’m at right now I think it’s going to be perfect. Then I can just continue to build up during the season.”
A lack of velocity in Spring Training is not unusual for closers and power pitchers. Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee often spoke about those pitchers needing to pitch with a “third deck,” meaning a Major League stadium.
The Phillies hope that is the case with Giles.
Giles said he felt a muscle on the left side of his back grab him during his plate appearance with Ryan Goins, who grounded out. Giles then walked Mike Reeves. Sandberg and assistant athletic trainer Chris Mudd immediately went to the mound to see him.
They knew something was wrong.
Giles said he has had the stiffness in his back for a few days, although Sandberg said he was not on any injury reports.
“I’ve stayed on it, kept it loose and stuff like that,” Giles said. “I felt like it went away completely today, but then once I got back out there and really tried to rev it up it kind of just clenched up.”
Told the Phillies might want to be cautious with his back, Giles said, “I don’t think they’ll be too pushy on that because they know I’ll speak the truth. Every day they always want to know how I’m feeling and stuff like that, but I’m not really concerned about that kind of stuff.”
It has been a question worth asking. Papelbon needs to finish only 48 games this season to automatically vest a $13 million club option for 2016. That should be a cinch, if he is healthy and continues to close. Papelbon has finished no fewer than 52 games each of the previous eight seasons, and has averaged 56.4 games finished in that span.
The option is noteworthy because the Phillies have had problems trying to trade Papelbon because of his salary. He makes $13 million this season, plus the potential for $13 million more in 2016.
Teams do not want to pay that much for a closer.
Many have wondered if the Phillies could simply demote Papelbon for Ken Giles, who had an impressive rookie season last year. The Phillies could say Giles is getting the job as part of a youth movement, which would scuttle Papelbon’s chances at the option.
That would make him more desirable in a trade.
Papelbon said he would be surprised if the Phillies approached him during the season and said they planned to make Giles the closer.
“I think that they know my stance on closing,” he said. “That’s what I am. I’m a closer. I think if the team decides to go that route, then so be it. Then they go that route. I’ll continue my route with this Major League career that I’ve had and move on.”
But again, the Phillies have said that is not happening as long as Papelbon is performing. He has posted 106 saves (seventh-most in baseball) and a 2.45 ERA (16th out of 137 qualifying relievers) in his three seasons in Philadelphia. If the Phillies suddenly pull him despite pitching well, he very well could file a grievance with the Players’ Union.
He finished fourth Monday in National League Rookie of the Year voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He received two second-place votes and two third-place votes to finish with eight points, which put him behind Mets pitcher and winner Jacob deGrom (142 points), Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (92) and Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (14 points).
Giles went 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA and one save in 44 appearances following his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in June. Spending the first two months of the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley certainly cost him votes, but it is tough to get votes as a relief pitcher, if he is not a closer.
Giles could be closing games for the Phillies as early as next season, if they trade Jonathan Papelbon in the offseason.
But Giles put up some eye-popping and historically impressive numbers in 2014. He allowed 25 hits, 11 walks and struck out 64 in 45 2/3 innings. His 0.79 WHIP is fifth among all rookie relievers since 1914. His 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio is sixth, and his 12.61 strikeouts-per-nine innings average is 10th.
If Ken Giles receives votes for National League Rookie of the Year, he might learn about it during an eight-hour shift at his 40-hour-a-week, minimum wage job at an indoor baseball facility just outside Phoenix.
Giles has spent the past few months throwing 100 mph fastballs and nasty sliders past big-league hitters, but he will spend his third offseason picking up baseballs in batting cages and giving pitching lessons.
“It gets me out of the house,” he said.
Giles, 24, entered Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins at Marlins Park with eye-popping numbers. He is 3-1 with a 1.21 ERA and one save in 43 appearances since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in June. He has allowed 24 hits, 11 walks and has struck out 63 in 44 2/3 innings. His 0.78 WHIP is fifth among all rookie relievers since 1914. His 5.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio is seventh and his 12.69 strikeouts-per-nine innings average is 10th.
He would be closing right now, if the Phillies could have traded Jonathan Papelbon.
Giles will not be NL Rookie of the Year. Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.63 ERA in 22 starts) is probably the favorite with others like Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton receiving more hype and attention. But voters looking closely at the numbers cannot miss Giles’ statistics.
“That stuff doesn’t really matter to me,” Giles said. “Awards are awards, numbers are numbers. It’s nice to be recognized, but other than that, who cares? Staying up here was my main concern. Do my job and perform. I’ve been waiting to do this since I was four years old. That’s all that matters to me.”
It is hard to believe, but when the Phillies sent Giles to Minor League camp in March he really needed to work on his command, particularly with his slider. It has not been an issue since his promotion.
“I’m sure I shocked a lot of people with how fast I came along,” he said. “I just busted my tail in the offseason to make sure I met those requirements. They were right to send me to the Minors. I had no problem going to Double-A, then Triple-A. It was just a matter of me getting that rhythm and that groove and getting those innings in.”
Giles will enter next Spring Training as a lock to make the bullpen, either as the setup man behind Papelbon or as the presumed closer, if Papelbon finally gets his wish and is dealt. Giles said he is fine either way.
“Pap is our leader,” Giles said. “I think right now he’s the glue of our bullpen. If he comes back next year I think he’ll be the biggest key to our success.”
Giles will head home to Phoenix following Sunday’s season finale against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He said he will spend his mornings working out and the afternoons and evenings working at It’s All in the Game Sports Center in Peoria, which is located just behind the Spring Training facilities of the Mariners and Padres.
He gets weekends off.
He is pretty sure he the only Phillies player to work a job in the offseason.
“I just can’t sit in my house all day,” he said. “A lot of my friends go there. My brother (Josh) works there. He’s my boss, actually. I got him the job and he ended up being my boss. But it doesn’t feel like work. It’s just hanging out with a bunch of my friends.”
Before tonight’s game the Phillies honored Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon for last week’s combined no-hitter against the Braves.
They were supposed to stand there and tip their caps to the crowd. That’s it. But Papelbon had other ideas. He led the group behind home plate, where they met Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker. The four stood there for a moment before Papelbon grabbed the mike, beginning the most awkward and awesome 60 seconds of the season.
“I want to thank everybody. Thank the fans,” Papelbon said. “And we have someone here, on behalf of all four of us, that’s going to speak for us.”
Papelbon handed the mike to Giles, who immediately recoiled.
“Really?” Giles said.
Hamels and Diekman started cracking up.
“Well, someone put me on the spot,” Giles said. “That’s all right. Well, thank you everybody for coming and celebrating this great day for us. And, um, I don’t know, what’s, um, I feel really awkward right now. I don’t know what to say. Let’s just out there and, um … let’s play some ball right now!”
During their 7-2 run, the bullpen is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, allowing 15 hits, three runs, three walks and striking out 32 batters in 25 innings.
But its success goes back further than nine games. It is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 games since June 2, allowing 20 hits, five runs, six walks and striking out 46 in 37 1/3 innings. Its ERA, strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.67), strikeouts per nine innings average (11.09) and WHIP (0.70) are best in baseball in that stretch. It also is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 26 games since May 22, allowing 45 hits, 18 runs, 31 walks and striking out 88 78 2/3 innings. It is first in WHIP (0.97), second in ERA and third in strikeouts per nine innings (10.07) in that stretch.
Here is a look at the individual numbers:
- Jonathan Papelbon: He blew his second save of the season Monday in Atlanta, but is 2-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 16 saves in 17 opportunities since he blew his first save April 2 in Texas. He has allowed 16 hits, two runs, seven walks and has struck out 23 in 27 innings since.
- Antonio Bastardo: He has not walked a batter in nine innings this month. In fact, he has allowed just one hit and struck out 10 in those six appearances. He also has a 0.50 ERA in 15 appearances since May 11. He has allowed four hits, one run, nine walks and has struck out 22 in 18 innings in that stretch.
- Jake Diekman: He has a 2.95 ERA in 20 appearances since the end of April.
- Justin De Fratus: He has not allowed a run in 11 appearances since being recalled from Triple-A late last month. He has allowed seven hits, two walks and has struck out 13 in 12 innings.
- Mario Hollands: He has a 2.55 ERA this season, but he has not allowed a run in 14 appearances since May 7. He has allowed seven hits, six walks and has struck out 12 in 12 2/3 innings in that stretch.
- Ken Giles: Since allowing a home run to the first batter he faced in the big leagues, he has allowed one hit, one walk and has struck out six in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
- Ethan Martin: Has only pitched twice since joining the team, and not once since June 7.
Ken Giles left the Phillies bullpen, headed down a few steps and walked through the bullpen door before he jogged onto the field for his big-league debut with two outs in the top of the ninth inning today at Citizens Bank Park.
“I thought I was going to fall down,” he said following a 7-3 victory over the Padres. “My legs were a little Jell-o-y. I thought I was going to fall down. But once I got to the dirt I was like ‘Oh my god, this it. My dreams are finally coming true.’ Now I’ve got my greatest goal accomplished. … It was breathtaking.”
Fans have been waiting for Giles since April, when he started to light up the scoreboard in Double-A Reading with 100 mph fastballs. He dominated Double-A hitters and pitched with some success in Triple-A.
He didn’t disappoint as his first pitch fastball to Yasmani Grandal flashed 100 mph on the scoreboard, although Pitch f/x data had it at 99.1 mph. His next three pitches were balls and Grandal lofted a 3-1 fastball into the flower boxes in left field for a solo home run.
“That’s a great way to welcome me to the big leagues,” Giles said. “I didn’t think it was going to go out. It looked like a routine fly ball to the warning track to me. Once I saw it, Dom (Domonic Brown) was under it, I just stood behind the mound like I would for an out. Next thing I knew, there was stumbling in the bushes. I was like alright, oh well, on to the next one.”
Giles struck out Alexi Amarista swinging on a 2-2 slider to end the game.
One home run, one strike out.
Giles hopes he is on his way.
“It was fun, it was great,” he said. “Now I’ve showed them what I can do, what I throw, so now it’s just, I got the first one out of the way, now it’s down to business, time to pitch.”
The scoreboard flashed 100 mph twice with fans cheering each time it hit. Giles heard each one.
“How could you not?” he said. “I just go out there and pitch. Whatever it says, it says. I’m not going to try to force it. It’s all natural, you’ve seen it, everybody’s seen it today. No reason to pump 102 or 103. … Everybody’s different on their debut and, unlucky for me I got a home run on mine, but, that’s a great memory, just thinking first at-bat, gave up a home run. Next guy, struck out. It’s just a good story to tell.”
They called up their best young bullpen arm to replace him.
Right-hander Ken Giles will take Adams’ spot in the Phillies’ bullpen. Giles, who touches 100 mph with his fastball, has been on the minds of fans since he started to put up eye-popping numbers in April with Double-A Reading. He had a 1.20 ERA in 13 appearances with Reading. He struck out 29 and walked five in 15 innings.
He was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley early last month. He posted a 2.63 ERA in 11 appearances, but struck out just nine and walked eight in 13 2/3 innings.
“He’s had some good outings,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He’s the next guy in line for us. We saw him in the spring and his control has been better and he’s made some improvement.”
On the train to DC this morning I crunched some numbers and came up with a few thoughts about the Phillies, who seem to be headed nowhere fast following a 4-7 homestand, which included their first no-hit loss since 1978 and four losses in five games to the Mets.
The Phillies are 9-17 since they were 15-14 on May 4. It’s the worst record in the National League in that span.
They are 24-31 overall. They were 26-29 at this point last year, when they were on their way to 89 losses.
I’m typically one to preach patience during a 162-game season because it is difficult to draw concrete conclusions about a team a little more than two months into it. I often remind people about the deficits the 2007 and 2008 Phillies overcame to win the National League East: seven down with 17 to play in 2007 and 3 ½ back with 16 to play in 2008. But those teams did at least one thing very, very well. Those teams had the best offense in the National League. They hit the cover off the ball. They also had a very good bullpen down the stretch in 2007 and a great one throughout 2008. They also played good defense.
But the 2014 Phillies don’t do anything well. You can’t say, “This team has fantastic starting pitching, so if they can just add a bullpen arm and get Domonic Brown going they should be OK.”
There are holes everywhere.
Brown is hitting .206 with six doubles, one triple, four home runs, 27 RBIs, 15 walks, 36 strikeouts and a .557 OPS through the team’s first 55 games. It reminds me of Pat Burrell’s 2003 season. Burrell’s struggles were a huge story that year. Fans wanted him sent to Triple-A, like Brown. I got emails from people asking about Burrell’s eyesight or other ailments that might be affecting him at the plate. But through 55 games in 2003, Burrell was hitting .204 with 13 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 25 RBIs, 31 walks, 64 strikeouts and a .751 OPS. Amazing. Burrell’s OPS was nearly 200 points higher than Brown’s is today.