Phillies righthander Jon Pettibone sported an unsightly 1-3, 4.78 record through his first six starts for Double-A Reading, but the 22-year-old has been dominant over the last six weeks.
Going back to his May 9 start in which he gave up one run over 8 2/3 innings, Pettibone has held opponents to two earned runs or less in seven of his last eight outings. His latest gem came Monday against Akron, whom he limited to two runs (one earned) on four hits over seven innings. He struck out a season-high eight and walked two. His ERA dropped to 3.43 in 87 innings, and it’s inflated by his lone difficult outing during his hot streak, when he gave up seven earned runs in six innings on May 31.
Pettibone’s plus changeup has made him devastating on lefthanded hitters, whom he’s holding to a .222/.294/.306 line in 108 at-bats this year. He’ll need to keep working on his slider to give him another weapon to use against righthanders, who are hitting .301 off him, to go along with his low 90s fastball. But Pettibone earns high marks for his feel for pitching, and he’s largely had Eastern League hitters’ numbers since his tough start. Though his 93 hits allowed in 87 innings on the year isn’t pretty, he’s held opponents to a .236 average since the start of May.