Just when you think that things can’t get any worse for the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies, they may have just gotten worse.
In the 8th inning of today’s Grapefruit League game vs the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida, closer-in-waiting Ken “100-miles” Giles was removed from the mound in the company of the trainer.
He had recorded an out and walked a batter who would later score on a 2-run homer yielded by his replacement, P.J. Walters.
It was announced post-game by manager Ryne Sandberg that Giles had suffered some sort of back tightness in the muscles of his lower back. The flame-throwing reliever has experienced the tightness over the last few days.
When asked by reporters, Giles himself stated that he believes that he is fine, and that he remains on track to be ready for Opening Day in Philadelphia.
Giles has not produced great results this spring. Assuming this is his final appearance in Florida, his Grapefruit League numbers will finish at a 6.23 ERA, with a 10-8 K:BB ratio across 8.2 innings in which he has allowed just 4 hits.Â
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Those control issues, combined with his fastball speed having been down most of the spring, and now culminating with having to actually be pulled from a game, certainly have to remain of concern, no matter what the reliever says.
The bullpen was expected to be one of the few areas of strength for the ball club this coming season. If that group starts to have physical issues, or otherwise declines in performance, this season might go from anticipated ugly to downright historically so very quickly.