Ken Giles has thrown 138 pitches thus far in 2015 (entering play on Sunday). It's still early enough that some quick "add that, carry the one, plus that" type of math can figure that number out.
Through eight appearances, Giles has not allowed an earned run, and his six unearned runs, quite frankly, are mostly due in part to a mistake by Odubel Herrera in center field last Wednesday night.
The elephant in the room that nobody really wants to even consider thinking about yet is Giles' early-season velocity troubles. Yet, I suppose, here we are discussing them.
Giles' average fastball last season clocked in at 97.2 MPH, with a sharp slider averaging 86.7 MPH. This season, Giles' fastball average is 94.8 MPH, with that slider down to 85.3 MPH.
As Giles told Meghan Montemurro of the News Journal last week, "I'm not one of those guys who are 100 percent off the bat. When the time comes, when it starts getting warmer, everybody's velocity is going to go up."
Fair enough. Is there reason to be concerned about Giles' dip in velocity thus far? The pitcher says no. Others, looking at the pre-season back injury, might say yes.
At the moment, the verdict is a bit muddled, but it's hard to be concerned about a guy who is still regularly hitting 95 MPH with ease.
Giles' first appearance of the season, in which he clearly did not have his best stuff, was troubling to watch. He threw 31 pitches, only 15 for strikes, and manager Ryne Sandberg probably left him out there about 12 pitches too many. Giles walked three and allowed two unearned runs before finally getting out of the jam.
Friday night, Giles began his appearance against Atlanta with a four-pitch walk, in what was about the wildest anyone has ever seen him. He buckled down and found his way out of the inning quickly after that.
If there is one thing to be concerned about with Giles early on, then, it's his fastball control. He's been a tad wild, with five walks in his 7.1 innings, though to be fair, three of those came in that first game against Boston.
If anything, we're probably all just a little bit spoiled after seeing Giles pitch last season. Many of his pitches were historically outstanding. His fastball velocity earned him a fancy nickname. His slider was utterly dominant.
A dip in velocity to begin 2015 will certainly be watched by the Phillies and the medical team, particularly following the reports of his back injury going into the season.
For now though, it's hard to panic about Giles. In a season that may be difficult to watch at times, we can still have nice things.