Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
The Phillies still have tough decisions to make, even though they are finished making moves before Friday’s trade deadline. They currently have seven starting pitchers for a five-man rotation: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, Rodrigo Lopez and Pedro Martinez. Two of those pitchers are out of the rotation.
But who? Lopez is the most likely candidate, despite the fact he is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA. He has pitched well, but he is the first casualty in the numbers game because the Phillies signed Martinez to take the fifth spot in the rotation.
The second casualty is a little more difficult.
We know it won’t be Lee, Hamels of Blanton.
“Happ? He’s a proven starter right now,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Right now we’ve very pleased with how he’s pitched.”
“We signed him to be a starter,” Amaro said. “We did have some discussions about the possibility of doing some relief and pitching in a relief role. But again, this stuff will play itself out. Pedro isn’t pitching in the big leagues yet.”
Rich Dubee echoed Amaro’s sentiments that the Phillies signed Martinez to be a starter. Martinez is 37, and despite the fact he said he could pitch out of the bullpen and despite the fact he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, I just don’t see an older pitcher with previous health issues getting up in the bullpen and pitching three out of five days.
“How would we use him? How would he respond?” Dubee said. “He’s 46 years old with 20-some years in the big leagues as a starter. I don’t think you can ask that of him.”
My guess is that Happ gets moved to the pen, which is crazy to say because he has pitched so well as a starter (5-2, 3.09 ERA in 13 starts). But Happ also pitched well as a reliever (2-0, 2.49 ERA in 12 appearances) and the Phillies could use another effective arm in the bullpen for the stretch drive. (Remember they looked for relief help in case they didn’t get Lee or Roy Halladay.)
Happ has faced a lot of uncertainty recently as trade rumors swirled around him. It hasn’t added with Lee’s acquisition.
“Things happen for a reason,” Happ said. “I’ve been hearing that from a lot of people since stuff has been going down. I’m here and I’m trying to do what I can do. Hopefully that means something. It’s all right to go through stuff like that. It’s a character builder. I’m not the only one that this has ever happened to. This stuff happens all the time.”
Shane Victorino‘s left knee was sore and swollen last night. He injured it making a diving catch in the first inning. He isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play tonight.