Scranton Times-Tribune beat writer Chad Jennings checks in to answer questions about pitchers Brian Mazone, Justin Germano and the possibility of adding a third baseman to replace Abraham Nunez.
Beerleaguer: Readers are clamoring for another starter to replace 22-year-old pitcher Scott Mathieson, who doesn’t look ready for prime time. Obviously, Brian Mazone's line jumps off the page. Is the 30-year-old left-hander a realistic alternative? He’s 11-2 with a 2.05 ERA. And what do you make of Justin Germano since his acquisition?
Chad Jennings: How can anyone deny Mazone at this point? Yes, he's a remarkably unlikely story, but so is Chris Coste and he seems to be working out pretty well. Mazone doesn't have the big fastball like Mathieson, but he changes speeds, commands all four pitches (fastball, change, curve and cutter) and he keeps balls in the park. He has been remarkably consistent and right now he's in line to lead the league in ERA. I think he's worth a look.
As for Justin Germano, he's pitching tonight and that will be just my second time seeing him. (Note: Last night, Germano pitched seven scoreless innings to earn his first win). So far my impression is that he's a solid young pitcher. He could be the answer, but Mazone has been much better this season. Also, Eude Brito is starting to pitch much better, to the point that he's been dominant at times. That said, no one has been better, longer this season than Mazone.
Chad Jennings: At third base, King is a better defensive player and has more pop, but Scales is probably a more consistent hitter and he can play second base and the outfield corners, so that's a plus. I think King would have been an interesting option in Philly after the Bell trade, but he's on the DL right now with a sprained ankle and might not be back for at least a week. Regardless of what happens this year, King might have been an off-season steal for the Phillies. This is his first Triple-A season and he's steadily gotten better. Even if he doesn't get a chance this season, he could play a role in the future.
If you're looking for a quick fix, Scales is probably the best bet. I don't think he would do anything overwhelming up there, but I think he would be solid at third base. I keep wondering whether Joe Thurston could play third. I know he has a little bit of time at shortstop, and the Red Barons started him a few times in left field, but if he could play third he might be the wild card option. The guy has a slick glove, good speed and he can hit for average. Plus he has some big league time with the Dodgers. I'm not at all saying the Phillies are going to make that move, but it seems like an interesting option to me.
Chad Jennings covers the Red Barons for the Scranton Times-Tribune. He welcomes e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.