Ken Giles ready to become closer if Phillies trade Papelbon
Being the closer, Ken Giles said, is like entering a "whole new world." Chances are good that Giles will enter that world if the Phillies decide to part ways with Jonathan Papelbon before the trade deadline on July 31.
"Everyone knows who you are when you come into that ninth inning because you're the one that ends the game," Giles said Saturday. "You're the one that brings the fire. You have the starters that start the fire and you just finish it. You put that extra little fuel on it to finish the game off."
The 24-year-old Giles said he's trying not to get too ahead of himself. Papelbon - who said last week that he hopes to be traded - is still the closer. Giles said he's taking it "one day at a time."
"But do I feel like I could do it? Absolutely," Giles said.
Giles pitched a scoreless eighth inning in a 6-3 win Friday. He has a 1.82 ERA in 392/3 innings this season. The pitcher pairs his blazing fastball with a fiery attitude and swagger. Interim manager Pete Mackanin said Giles has "the stuff" to be the team's closer.
"I love to be competitive. I love the challenge. Everyone already knows that," Giles said. "It's true that there are times that I can be a little hotheaded. But you know what, sometimes you have to be a little selfish and hotheaded and kind of have that spunk to you."
Giles spent the first two months of last season as the closer in double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley. It was the first time he stayed in that role on a consistent basis during his time in the minors. He struck out 38 in 282/3 innings.
"When they gave me that opportunity, it felt completely normal to me because that was my number one goal. To be a closer for any type of team," Giles said. "It didn't matter if it was here or in the minor leagues. I just wanted to be the closer. I wanted to be that cool guy."
Jerome Williams was back with the Phillies on Saturday after spending Friday night on a rehabilitation assignment with Reading. The righthander pitched eight innings, struck out five, walked none, and allowed one earned run.
Mackanin said the team had not determined what Williams' next step will be. Friday was the pitcher's third rehab start as he works his way back from a left hamstring strain.