Jonathan Pettibone's big-league debut similar to his dad's


Jonathan Pettibone's big-league debut similar to his dad's

Jay Pettibone, his wife, son and daughter flew all night from California to be in Philadelphia on Monday. The Pettibones expected to be a little tired after a trip on the red eye, but they weren’t expecting to be so cold.

You see, while rushing around to get ready for a last-second trip and making the arrangements with work and school, the family wasn’t prepared for the winter-like evening at Citizens Bank Park. They didn’t pack any winter coats.

Nevertheless, Jay Pettibone warmed up quickly after watching his son Jonathan work 5 1/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major-league debut at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night (see story). In fact, Jonathan Pettibone did pretty well on such short notice. On Saturday, the 22-year-old right-hander from Anaheim, Calif. was in Allentown, Pa. with the Phils’ Triple A club when he got the call to come to Philadelphia.

Pettibone allowed six hits, including a pair of solo homers, and no walks (more on that here) while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings to put the Phillies in position to pull out the 3-2 victory (see Instant Replay) and make the trip that much more exciting for Jay Pettibone and his family.

“Everyone is busy with work and school,” Jay Pettibone said. “My daughter is in high school and my son is in college playing ball, too, and packing everything up within a few hours to get on the road -- we just wanted to be there for him and show him the support. It was something we didn’t want to miss.”

A similar scenario occurred 30 years ago, too. While pitching for the Triple A Toledo Mud Hens, Jay Pettibone was told to hurry to Minnesota to make his big-league debut against the Kansas City Royals.

Jay Pettibone remembered that Sept. 11, 1983, complete-game loss as if it were yesterday. His son remembers hearing the story about that debut over the years, too.

“He always talks about it because he got a CG (complete game), so it went a little better than mine,” Jonathan Pettibone said. “He reminds me from time to time, but it’s all in fun.”

There are some quirky coincidences in the pro baseball careers of Jay and Jonathan Pettibone. Aside from rushing from Triple A to make surprise spot starts, the elder Pettibone remembered working for pitching coach Johnny Podres, who also guided the Phillies’ pitchers when they won the National League in 1993.

Jay passed on the advice he received from Podres back then to Jonathan on Monday afternoon.

“The whole scenario. The quick call and hurry to get there and being told you’re pitching the next day,” Jay Pettibone said. “I just told him to relax and enjoy it just like I was told by Johnny Podres way back when. I tried to do that myself.”

It was the perfect bit of advice.

“Don’t let anything around here get to you,” Jonathan Pettibone said his dad told him. “Just enjoy it and do what you’ve been doing your whole life.”

In Jay Pettibone’s debut, he went up against Danny Jackson, a member of that '93 Phillies team. He made three more starts after the debut and lost them all. When the season ended, Jay Pettibone went back to the minors in 1984, and he played for a young manager in his second season at Double A Orlando named Charlie Manuel.

Three decades later and Jonathan Pettibone made his big-league debut for Charlie Manuel.

What are the odds?

“He was a good guy that the players all liked,” Jay Pettibone remembered. “He just let you go do your thing. As a pitcher, he would let you go out there and go deep into games. The players that were hitters really liked him because right fresh out of baseball and he was very helpful to them.”

Manuel recalled the elder Pettibone’s repertoire.

“I remember he pitched for me,” Manuel said about Jay Pettibone. “Sinker, slider.”

Jonathan Pettibone relied mostly on his fastball and changeup. Of his 83 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, Pettibone threw just eight sliders. Everything else was heat or a changeup, which was the plan. Eventually, Pettibone will have to throw more breaking pitches, but for now it was important to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“That was the game plan,” Jonathan Pettibone said. “I didn’t want to pick around the strike zone. I wanted to be aggressive and get ahead of guys.”

Manuel liked the pitcher's aggressiveness. Though he allowed a double on the second pitch he threw in the game, Pettibone recovered to get out of the inning unscathed. In the second, Pettibone allowed a solo homer to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, but recovered to get a pair of strikeouts.

In his first big-league plate appearance, Pettibone drew a leadoff walk against A.J. Burnett, advanced to second on Jimmy Rollins’ single and moved to third on a groundout by John Mayberry.

When Burnett threw one wild to Chase Utley, Pettibone rushed home with the Phillies’ first run.

Dad might have been a little more nervous about the at-bat and the trip around the bases than the pitching performance.

“Oh boy,” Jay Pettibone said about watching his son dig in at the plate.

Pettibone got three more strikeouts in the third and fourth innings and allowed just one hit. Russell Martin hit a solo homer to lead off the fifth and Clint Barmes followed with a single, but Pettibone got out of the inning with three ground balls.

After Pettibone retired Andrew McCutchen to start the sixth, Manuel went to the bullpen.

Through it all, the first Phillie to be born in the 1990s was poised and stoic on the mound. Yeah, he admitted to having difficulty falling asleep the night before and said he was nervous for the first couple of innings, but once he got going it was just another game.

“That’s normal for him,” Jay Pettibone said. “He stays in control and doesn’t show a lot of emotion. That’s typical for him.”

In the meantime, the Phillies are going to need a fifth starter with John Lannan on the disabled list. Manuel said the Phillies will discuss if Pettibone will get some more work in the big leagues, but if it’s a one-and-done gig, it went pretty well for the kid.

Even his dad thinks so.

“Good job,” Jay Pettibone said when asked what he’ll tell his son after the game. “Way to go out there and throw your strikes and challenge people. That’s the key. Let them put the ball in play and keep the game close and turn it over to the ‘pen like he did and they have a good chance to win it.”

MLB Playoffs: Cubs beat Dodgers, move one win away from World Series

MLB Playoffs: Cubs beat Dodgers, move one win away from World Series


LOS ANGELES -- One win away. Two chances at home. Seven decades of waiting.

The Chicago Cubs closed in on their first World Series trip since 1945 by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday in Game 5 of their National League playoff.

Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tiebreaking homer and the Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series.

On deck, a pair of opportunities to wrap up that elusive pennant at Wrigley Field.

"The city of Chicago has got to be buzzing pretty much right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're not going to run away from anything. It's within our reach right now."

The Cubs' first opportunity to clinch comes Saturday night in Game 6, when Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw faces major league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks.

"That's a game we expect to win," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.

Of course, the Cubs were in the same favorable position 13 years ago -- heading home to Wrigley with a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

But even with ace pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood starting the final two games, Chicago collapsed against the Marlins in one of its most excruciating failures.

More than a decade later, the franchise is still chasing its first World Series championship since 1908.

"We've heard the history," center fielder Dexter Fowler said, "but at the same time we're trying to make history."

Budding star Javier Baez was in the middle of everything for the Cubs, a common theme this October. The second baseman made a sensational defensive play when the game was still close in the seventh, and his three-run double capped a five-run eighth that made it 8-1.

After busting out of his postseason slump Wednesday, Russell hit a two-run homer for the second straight game. This one was a sixth-inning drive off losing pitcher Joe Blanton that gave Chicago a 3-1 lead.

"Just rounding the bases, it was pretty exciting," Russell said. "Pumped up, not only for myself but for the team and that little cushion that Jonny had to go forward from that."

Baez had three of Chicago's 13 hits, matching the team's total in Game 4, when the Cubs snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak and won 10-2.

Lester allowed one run and five hits, improving to 2-0 in three playoff starts this year. He has given up two runs in 21 innings.

The left-hander struck out six and walked one in a slow-paced game that lasted 4 hours, 16 minutes.

"These guys won the game for us," Lester said, nodding toward Russell and Baez. "I was just kind of along for the ride."

Anthony Rizzo's run-scoring double gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first.

Los Angeles tied it in the fourth on Adrian Gonzalez's RBI groundout.

Russell homered on an 0-1 pitch from Blanton, who gave up a single to Baez leading off the sixth. Baez stole second before Russell's shot to left-center put the Cubs ahead on another unusually hot night at Dodger Stadium.

Blanton took his second loss of the series. The veteran right-hander gave up consecutive homers in the eighth inning of Game 1, including a tiebreaking grand slam by pinch-hitter Miguel Montero.

"Our confidence hasn't wavered," Roberts said. "This series certainly isn't over."

With the Dodgers trailing 3-1 in the seventh, Gonzalez found himself on the wrong end of a replay review for the second consecutive night.

With Baez playing way out on the outfield grass in shallow right, the slow-footed Gonzalez tried to take advantage with a drag bunt leading off the inning. Baez rushed in for a barehanded scoop and off-balance throw, but Gonzalez initially was called safe by first base umpire Ted Barrett. The Cubs challenged and the ruling was overturned.

In Game 4, Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second after diving with his left hand stretched toward the plate while catcher Willson Contreras applied a tag. The Dodgers challenged, but the video review upheld umpire Angel Hernandez's out call.

Chicago jumped on struggling Dodgers rookie Kenta Maeda from the start. Fowler singled leading off the game and scored on Rizzo's double to right two batters later.

Maeda gave up one run and three hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander has allowed eight earned runs in 10 2/3 innings this postseason.

The Dodgers' defense fell apart in the eighth.

Gonzalez tried flipping Russell's slow roller to reliever Pedro Baez, who came over to cover first and bobbled the ball for an error.

Contreras followed with a pinch-hit single, and the runners moved up on pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr.'s sacrifice bunt. Fowler reached on an infield single to first, with Gonzalez losing a foot race when Fowler slid into the bag as Russell scored.

Kris Bryant reached on an infield single to third, with the Dodgers unsuccessfully challenging the call that he was safe.

The Dodgers thought they'd finally escaped the inning when Rizzo lined out to second baseman Kike Hernandez, who nearly doubled up Fowler at second. But the Cubs challenged the call and it was reversed, prolonging the inning.

Baez got yanked after walking Ben Zobrist to load the bases. Ross Stripling came on to face Baez, who doubled to deep right, driving in three more runs.

"We can grab that momentum by one name: Kershaw," Gonzalez said. "We don't want to put it all on him, but if we score a couple of runs, we'll feel real good."

Scully returns
Vin Scully was back at Dodger Stadium for the first time since ending his 67-year career behind the microphone earlier this month.

The 88-year-old Hall of Fame announcer attended as a spectator and proclaimed, "It's time for Dodger baseball!" from an upstairs suite.

Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur isn't on the NLCS roster, but he's contributing. A day after his bat was borrowed by Rizzo to hit a home run, Szczur revealed during an in-game TV interview that Russell wore a pair of his underwear leggings Wednesday after leaving his own at home.

Up next
Dodgers: Kershaw takes the mound in Chicago on an extra day of rest. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance this postseason. Overall, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is 4-6 with a 4.39 ERA in 17 career playoff appearances.

Cubs: Hendricks' 2.13 ERA was tops in the majors this season. The right-hander allowed a solo homer in 5 1/3 innings of Game 2, his longest career postseason start. The Cubs lost 1-0 to Kershaw.

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

MLB Playoffs: Indians reach 1st World Series since 1997

TORONTO -- For the Cleveland Indians, the script was the same every game -- hope for the best from whoever they started, then count on Andrew Miller and the bullpen to close it out.

That plan seemed especially dicey in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series, with lightly used Ryan Merritt on the mound.

But out of nowhere, the rookie delivered.

Merritt coolly kept the Indians ahead until reinforcements arrived, and Cleveland earned its first trip to the World Series since 1997 by blanking the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 Wednesday.

The 24-year-old lefty defied expectations, shutting down the powerful Blue Jays before exiting in the fifth inning. Thanks to a most unlikely pitching performance, a most unexpected team won the ALCS 4-1.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Terry Francona's team will try to augment what's already been a scintillating year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first major pro sports championship since 1964.

The Indians' title drought dates to 1948. In 1997, they let a one-run lead get away in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 and lost to the Florida Marlins in the 11th.

"We always said if we could do it with this group it would be so special because this is as close to a family feel as you can get in a professional setting. So for that part of it, it is beyond feeling good," Francona said (see full recap).

Cubs' bats come alive to even series
LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak as the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree (26 degree Celcius) night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters -- a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games -- busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice (see full recap).