Following a spine-tingling, 14-inning victory, the Phillies are back in business tonight when their important series with the Reds continues.
Before the season, Scott Mathieson, who had never pitched above Class-A Lakewood, was glad to be a late addition to Double-A Reading. Today, he’s pitching in a Wild Card race.
The promising right-hander (1-3, 5.40 ERA) has had his share of growing pains since getting recalled from the minor leagues, but has also mixed in some auspicious moments. The 22-year-old fireballer lost 8-1 to the Mets on Sunday, allowing six hits and seven runs -- two earned -- in just 3 2-3 innings. At his best, he’s shown an ability to throw a heavy fastball, enduce ground balls and miss some bats.
He’ll be opposed by Elizardo Ramirez (4-9, 5.00), who was forced into action during last night’s marathon. The former Phillies prospect will try to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Phillies had their share of heroes in last-night’s thrill ride: Jimmy Rollins; Chris Coste; Ryan Madson; Aaron Rowand; Chase Utley; Jon Lieber; and the list goes on. The team has played inspired ball since the all-star break, and particularly well since the exodus of several key players, including Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle and David Bell. Lately, they’ve benefited from solid starting pitching, stalwart relief and a parade of timely hits.
The biggest wild card could be the man on the mound tonight. If the Phillies are to keep pace, Mathieson must mature in a hurry, starting tonight.