It's Gotta Be Happ
He threw his second shoutout of the season tonight in a 7-0 victory against the Rockies. He struck out a career-high 10 batters. He is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA, an ERA which ranks sixth in the National League.
Who’s got a better ERA in the NL than Happ?
Chris Carpenter (2.10 ERA)
Tim Lincecum (2.18 ERA)
Matt Cain (2.25 ERA)
Dan Haren (2.38 ERA)
Wandy Rodriguez (2.63 ERA)
That’s solid company, which makes Happ’s future in the Phillies rotation even more interesting than it already is.
We know Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton take three spots in the rotation.
We know Jamie Moyer leads the team with 10 wins.
We know Pedro Martinez has been signed to be a starter, and the Phillies have made no bones that is their plan for him.
But we also know Moyer’s 5.55 ERA is the second highest in the National League, Martinez has not piched in the big leagues since last season and Happ has been one of the team’s most consistent starters this year.
“Tremendous pitching. Outstanding,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “If he didn’t allow any hits that might have been the only way he could have done better. I think he showed me he wants to stay in the rotation.”
“Let me answer that for you later on, OK?” Manuel said. “I don’t feel like getting into that no more. I’ve answered that now for what? A week?”
But that was before Happ threw his latest shutout.
If the Phillies think Martinez is ready for the big leagues after his latest rehab start tonight with Double-A Reading — he allowed three earned runs and struck out 11 in six innings – the decision might come before Happ’s next scheduled start Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Should Happ stay in the rotation? Absolutely. I can’t see how the Phillies will be able to say they are a better team — a team trying to win another World Series — with Happ in the bullpen. In a seven-game series, who would you want following Lee, Hamels and Blanton right now? I’d want Happ.
But the decision is tougher than it seems. Manuel mentioned Tuesday that Moyer leads the team in wins and has won 256 games in his career. He also is in the first year of a two-year, $13 million contract. Those things will be considered. Martinez, while he has not pitched in the Majors since last season, is worth a look. And while he has said he would go to the bullpen, he might not take that well. That will be considered, too.
It might come down to Happ vs. Moyer. It should be interesting, but Happ has earned the right to keep starting.