Phillies fans got to see a glimpse of the future on Monday night, when right-handed pitcher Jonathan Pettibone made his big league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With John Lannan on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, the Phillies opted to call up Pettibone from AAA Lehigh Valley, where he has a 9.64 ERA in two starts. In 159 innings of work between AA and AAA last season, the right-hander was 13-8 with had a 3.10 ERA. The Phillies chose Pettibone over fellow right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who had a cup of coffee with the Phillies last season, and lefty Adam Morgan, who burst onto the scene last season with a 3.35 ERA and a 9.6 K/9 between High-A and AA.
Pettibone, who is the youngest Phillies pitcher to start a game since Fabio Castro did so in 2007 at age 22, was solid in his Major League debut. He allowed two earned runs in five and a third on six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out six in the Phillies 3-2 win.
He got into a spot of trouble in the first inning, where he allowed a leadoff double to Sterling Marte. After a groundout that moved Marte to third, Pettibone struck out slugger Andrew McCutchen before getting Garrett Jones to line out to right to end the inning.
After striking out Neil Walker to start the second, Pettibone allowed the first earned run of his career, when third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer to right field to put the Pirates on the board. After Russell Martin got thrown out at after trying to stretch a single into a double, Pettibone struck out Clint Barmes to end the frame.
Pettibone had a 1-2-3 third inning, and worked around a two-out double in the forth to keep the Pirates off the board. The Phillies gave Pettibone a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, but he was able to hold it, as he allowed a leadoff homer to Martin to start the fifth inning. He allowed another hit, but he was able to limit the damage to one run. His night came to an end in the top of the sixth inning, when he got Andrew McCutchen to ground out to third to start the frame.
All told, it was a solid debut for Pettibone, even if he didn't factor in the decision. He pitched out of a jam early on, and was steady the rest of the way. He wasn't spectacular, but he looked very comfortable on the hill, and was able to save the bullpen in the first game of the series. One start does not a season make, but it was a very impressive outing for the young hurler.
With John Lannan set to be on the shelf for at least two months, it's safe to say that Pettibone has earned a spot in the rotation with his performance on Monday.