CINCINNATI - From the moment Ken Giles fired a 100-m.p.h. fastball in April at double-A Reading, the righthanded pitcher developed a cult following. Baseball tends to romanticize speed, and no Phillies arm in the last decade threw as hard as Giles does.
Giles, a soft-spoken 23-year-old from New Mexico, was quite aware of how fans placed him on a pedestal.
"It trickled down pretty fast," Giles said. "The first outing I had down there, it trickled down pretty fast. I've already heard it."
Giles, of course, is no savior. The Phillies, now without injured Mike Adams, lack a proven righthanded option as a bridge to closer Jonathan Papelbon. Justin De Fratus, who has tossed nine scoreless innings since being called up, will likely have the first crack at a setup role. Giles, though, could assume important situations if he can command his powerful arsenal. The last Phillies pitcher to regularly hit 100 m.p.h. was Billy Wagner in 2004-05.