Ruben Amaro Jr. Says Phillies Are “Contenders”
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Through 19 games, the Phillies are 9-10 and have been somewhat inconsistent, showing flashes of excellence, as well as signs of weakness.
Offensively, the Phillies have been good, hitting .257 as a team (10th best in MLB). Their glaring weakness is back end pitching, as the bullpen has a 5.69 ERA, second worst in Major League Baseball.
“Everybody is kind of hovering around .500 and no one really knows what they have yet,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show on Tuesday morning. “I think that we have a good, solid ball club. We obviously have to pitch better in the back half of the bullpen, but as our starting pitching comes around as we think it can with Cole [Hamels] added to it, we’re contenders and we’ll see how it goes.”
Phillies ace, Cole Hamels, has recovered from his early injury and will pitch his first game of the season on Wednesday night against the Dodgers.
“We’ll be, for the first time in a long time, knock wood, when Cole [Hamels] gets back on Wednesday, we’ll probably be — the first time we’ll be kind of at full strength in a couple of years, which will be a good thing,” Amaro Jr. said. “[We’ll] see how it goes.”
Ken Giles, the 23 year old closer for the Reading Phillies, continues to impress as he pitched two innings on Monday, allowing only one hit and no walks, while striking out two batters. On the season, Giles has pitched nine innings in seven games, allowing only two hits and no earned runs, while striking out 18 and walking just three batters. Still, Amaro Jr. says he’s not ready for the big leagues yet.
“No he’s not [close to getting called up], because he’s not ready to pitch in the big leagues yet,” Amaro Jr. said of Giles. “He’s throwing very well in that league and part of it is because he has the ability to throw the ball past double-A hitter up in the zone. He needs to get the ball down in the zone consistently and throw his sliders for strikes consistently and it’s one of the reasons why we stretched him out a little bit and we’ll do that from time to time just to make sure he can work at his other pitches. But you know, the kid’s got a great arm, but it’s not necessarily just about having a great arm. We’ve seen that before. We’ve had a lot of guys with great arms. They have to be able to throw the ball where they need to throw the ball to get people out in the big leagues.”