Drabek went eight innings and allowed just two earned runs while striking out seven hitters. The 21 year old right-hander recorded 12 groundball outs in the game and erased memories of his last outing when he was hit hard by New Britain.
Drabek has now thrown 60 2/3 innings for Reading, just one shy of what he threw at Clearwater before being promoted to Double-A Reading. While his numbers against Eastern League hitters aren't quite as dominating as they were against Florida State hitters, they're good enough to consider moving Drabek to Triple-A for the rest of the season.
One reason why that move might not take place right now is the potential for Drabek to be dealt in a deal for either Roy Halladay or possibly, Cliff Lee. With the trade deadline just eight days away, the Phillies may just prefer to let him throw at least one more game for Reading before muddying the waters and promoting him to Lehigh Valley. The upside of a move would be that if he were to pitch well for Lehigh Valley, it would help to show that Drabek is ready for tougher competition and to potentially be pitching in the majors in the very near future.
There were reports that the Phillies had told Toronto that Drabek was untouchable in a deal for Halladay, but Toronto wouldn't have dispatched a scout to Altoona if those reports were true. Ideally though, the Phillies would be able to keep Drabek and use other prospects to fill a package to send to Toronto for Halladay.
The Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers figure to mount the biggest charge to get Halladay, with the Cardinals still considering getting involved. It appears that the Yankees and Mets have both dropped out of the battle. The Phillies have also started looking at other options, including Cleveland's Cliff Lee, but it's unsure whether they would include Drabek in a deal for the reigning Cy Young winner or if Cleveland will even make him available. Right now, the jockeying for position and battle to get the other guy to blink is still going on, but the Blue Jays expect to receive official offers as early as this weekend.
Drabek has had one bad outing while with Reading and if you were to remove his stats from that game, his ERA would be 2.63 with Reading, just slightly higher than the 2.48 ERA he posted while at Clearwater, where he started the season. It wouldn't appear that there's much more for Drabek to do at the Double-A level and it would be interesting to see him pitching in the same rotation as Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter and Kyle Kendrick for the IronPigs. A move now would also have him on a potential schedule to throw a decent amount of innings at Triple-A before the Phillies would have to decide whether a September audition was called for or not.
Of course, all that goes by the wayside if Drabek winds up in Toronto, Cleveland or some other city as part of a deal to acquire a starter for the big league club. No matter where he is though, he appears ready for a trip to Triple-A ball; at least.