Michael Stutes: Learning process continues for late-inning specialist

When the subject of Phillies rookie pitcher is bandied about, Vance Worley scores most of the headlines. But another freshman hurler has also impressed.

Michael Stutes (6-1, 3.62 ERA) has had good season out of the bullpen. The laid-back Oregon native had a very good spring and has been solid ever since being called up after Jose Contreras was placed on the DL in late April.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate with the opportunity I’ve been given this year,” Stutes said. “I try to pitch the same way no matter what role I fill. I try to throw good pitches and get outs.”

Stutes, 25, started in middle relief but injuries have turned him into a seventh- and eighth-inning specialist. Stutes has primarily pitched well, but he has had his rough outings. When he attacks hitters, he has been effective. When Stutes has nibbled, he has struggled.

“The key to pitching is getting ahead,” Stutes said. “That’s so on any level, but it’s really so in the majors. You try not to be in 3-0 or 3-1 counts because if the hitters here know what’s coming, they’re not going to miss it. It’s a learning process.”

Watching Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is also part of that process.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch what they do,” Stutes said. “Those guys don’t pitch around anyone because they’re the biggest pitchers in the game. There is no hitter bigger than they are. I watch them just like the fans do out in center field. All the guys in the pen are rooting for them.”

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