Jonathan Pettibone Makes MLB Debut Amid Mild Expectations

Jonathan Pettibone Makes MLB Debut Amid Mild Expectations

Guest post by Matt Hammond

After nabbing International League Pitcher of the Year honors with
a 12-1 mark and 2.35 ERA for the Iron Pigs in Triple-A last year, Tyler Cloyd
got lit up in the six starts following his September callup for the Phillies, for a 2-2
record and 4.91 ERA.

Lot of anticipation. World of let-down. In all, the Cloyd
Experience was kind of a drag.

Tonight, when Jonathan Pettibone makes his Big League debut in
place of the 15-day DL’d John Lannan against A.J. Burnett and the Pirates,
it probably won’t go that way.

Though he might not be Cliff Lee, and probably won't even be Adam
Morgan, Ethan Martin and, someday, Jesse Biddle, the numbers on the 22-year-old
right-handed sinker-and-slider-throwing Pettibone say he probably won’t be
Cloyd, either. 

He’ll probably sooner be, ironically, Aaron Cook.

Unlike Cloyd, who was tagged for eight home runs in six
major-league starts, Pettibone is all about inducing much more harmless ground
balls. His 50.8% ground ball rate in Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year was well
over average for the International League.

Pettibone’s outfield fly ball rate last year was 17.2%, where
Cloyd’s was 30.9%.

Hits are hits, and any kind can score runs, but ground balls
typically lead to fewer extra-base hits, which makes pulling the plug before
it’s too late easier on Charlie Manuel. 

Which is kind of why GM Ruben Amaro signed Cook (his 58.6 GB% in
2012 was second in baseball) this winter: to compete with Rodrigo Lopez to be
the Phillies sixth starter in case of, well, this. It’s also why fans bemoaned
Cook being cut this spring.

If he can’t dazzle, it’s pivotal that Pettibone at the very
least lasts today, seeing as a lengthy run from the bullpen early could impede
the Phillies chances the rest of the series.

Pettibone so far hasn’t been able to duplicate the impressive
4-1 mark and 2.25 ERA he posted after his first promotion to Triple-A last
year. He’s got a shaky 9.64 ERA through two starts with the Iron Pigs this year, after serving six
runs on eight hits in just 5 1/3 innings in his debut, and another four runs in
four innings in his follow up last Tuesday. 

His next scheduled turn was, conveniently, today. Morgan and
Martin both pitched on Saturday, and Biddle isn’t close to being Big League
ready.

Chris Johnson and Tyler Pastornicky each belted a home run for
the Braves in Pettibone’s only Grapefruit League game this spring, and
Pettibone served four runs in two frames on Apr. 28. Earlier, the Dominican
Republic WBC roster blasted him for another four runs in 2 2/3 once they were
through with Cole Hamels on Mar. 5.

Amaro yesterday said Pettibone's been clocking 91-94 m.p.h. this
year, whereas Cloyd topped out at 87 m.p.h. last year. Curiously, the GM said
Pettibone's stuff has been good, in the same breath as saying his command and
results have been poor. Hmm.

So no, there wasn’t the same hype around Pettibone as there was
Cloyd in 2012. 

Seeing how that went, and how this isn’t likely to,
maybe less will prove more.

*

Matt Hammond is the Phillies Insider and Morning Update Anchor for 97.3 ESPN in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter here.

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has caught the eye of a Golden State Warrior.

At Golden State's shootaround Sunday night at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, Warriors power forward Draymond Green said what we all think about Joel Embiid.

"He has a chance to be really f------ good," Green said.

Green and the Warriors will miss Embiid Monday when they tip off against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid will miss two more games to minimize the risk of aggravating his left knee injury. The Sixers are targeting Friday against the Knicks for his return (see story).

Embiid hasn't played since the Jan. 27 game against Houston and has missed 16 of their last 17 games. Still, the 22-year-old has shown, when healthy, he's a special player that Sixers can build around.

In 31 games -- with minute restrictions and missing 27 games, too -- Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists. He's shooting 46.6 from the field, and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Despite running a tremendous Twitter campaign for the NBA All-Star Game, he missed out being an All-Star in his first year. He won the NBA's Rookie of the Month for October, November, December and January. Yeah, we all agree with Green.

But how much of Embiid has Green seen?

"I haven't had a chance to watch him," Green said. "I think he has a chance to be damn good. He's figuring it out. He's versatile. He can do a lot of things."

For more from the Warriors on the Sixers' potential, watch the video above.

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

NEW YORK -- Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg each scored twice to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots to tie his career high with his 32nd win. Josh Anderson also scored and Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win for the fourth time in five games.

Columbus won for the second time in two days after its bye week and moved past the Rangers into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets won three of five in the season series -- including both games at Madison Square Garden -- after losing seven straight meetings coming in.

Rick Nash scored a tying goal for the Rangers early in the first period. Jesper Fast scored in the final second, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 26 saves (see full recap).

Surging Blackhawks beat Blues on late Anisimov goal
CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.

Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.

Patrick Kane assisted on Anisimov's winner and scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Chicago, which pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.

Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight (see full recap).

Gaudreau's 2 goals helps Flames down Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist to help the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Sunday.

Micheal Ferland also scored for the Flames. They have earned at least one point in six straight games, going 5-0-1 in that stretch to move into playoff position in the Western Conference.

Victor Rask scored on the power play for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost six of seven to fall into last place in the Metropolitan Division.

Brian Elliott made 34 saves for the Flames, with his best coming with roughly 15 minutes to play when he stopped Jeff Skinner from point-blank range.

Eddie Lack finished with 21 saves. He made his second straight start for Carolina (see full recap).

Turris, Anderson lead Senators past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kyle Turris scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday night.

Zack Smith had an early short-handed goal for the Senators, who have won four of six.

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 31 saves. The Panthers have lost three straight after sweeping a five-game road trip, and dropped their last four home games overall.

Turris put Ottawa ahead when his wrist shot went over Reimer's glove at 9:58 of the second for his 21st goal of the season.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal by Smith. Reimer blocked a shot from Erik Karlsson, but Smith grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 6:28 of the first. Smith has 12 career short-handed goals (see full recap).