Baseball is a funny game. Before the 2013 season commenced, nobody would have guessed that six weeks into the season that Jonathan Pettibone would have as many major league wins as Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay combined.
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Those guys have been described as studs throughout their enviable careers. Pettibone wasn’t even the most ballyhooed of Phillies pitching prospects entering the season.
Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan garnered more hype than Pettibone in spring training.
But don’t tell that to Kevin Frandsen.
“That’s a stud right there,” Frandsen said after Pettibone led the Phillies to a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night. “He didn’t back down.”
That’s something Pettibone has exhibited throughout his short Phillies career. His fastball isn’t searing but he throws strikes and battles the opposition. Pettibone faced a formidable offensive foe that scored a pair of early runs. However, he fought back and went 6 2/3 innings. The unflappable Pettibone game up two runs in the second inning but he kept his composure. The 22-year old followed by retiring 11 of the next 13 hitters and giving up just four hits, while leading the Phillies to their third straight victory.
“It was good to not give up any more runs after that second inning,” Pettibone said. “It worked out.”
Charlie Manuel was impressed.
“I thought he pitched a good game,” Manuel said. “He kept his composure. His fastball was over both sides of the plate. He got his breaking ball over at the right time.”
Manuel was just as impressive as Pettibone when it came to handling his leaky bullpen. With the Indians threatening in the eighth and Mike Adams unavailable, the Phillies went with a committee of relievers before handing the ball off to closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Antonio Bastado, Justin DeFratus and Jeremy Horst each recorded eighth-inning outs.
The bottom of the order generated enough offense for the win. John Mayberry Jr. drove in three runs. Domonic Brown hit his team-leading seventh homer. Frandsen also went yard. The Phillies have now hit sixteen straight solo homers.
“All that matters is that we won,” Frandsen said.
Pettibone made that possible but he has been solid ever since he was called up. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in each of his five starts.
“I’m telling you the guy can pitch,” Frandsen said. “He’s that good.”