As the Phillies seek to map out a pitching plan that keeps them on top of the National League East, they’re preparing for a rotation change. The team is presently deciding whether to return Nick Pivetta or Vince Velasquez to the starting five in time to take the ball next Tuesday, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters including Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (via Twitter).
Both of those talented but uneven hurlers opened the year in the rotation, but the ground has shifted in the two months since. Pivetta was hit hard in four starts and ended up being optioned back down to figure things out. Velasquez has been shelved with a forearm strain for a few weeks.
In their absence, the Phillies brought in some new arms. Jerad Eickhoff came first; he has firmly laid claim to a job. The same can’t be said of Cole Irvin, who’ll now be bumped out of the group of five. Irvin was bombed in his third start of the year and is likely ticketed for a trip back to Triple-A on optional assignment.
In the aggregate, there’s one spot up for grabs. Pivetta’s claim to the role is simple: he has racked up fifty strikeouts and allowed just 22 hits in 37 Triple-A frames. The stuff is there. He’s also still not commanding the ball perfectly, as evidenced by his twenty walks in that same stretch against minor-league competition. Pivetta’s latest start wasn’t his sharpest effort, as Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Wandering command has also been an issue for Velasquez. He’s occasionally dominant but has never strung together an exceptional overall season. Velasquez owns a 3.86 ERA in 30 1/3 innings this year, but has been awfully homer- and walk-prone (with seven of the former and 15 of the latter).
Ultimately, both pitchers are sure to have an impact at the MLB level this year (presuming good health, at least). Perhaps both could ultimately be utilized in multi-inning roles other than those of a traditional starter, whether in tandem with one another or in concert with other pitchers. There are plenty of creative possibilities.
For the time being, the Phils need to figure out which pitcher can best help the team rack up the wins it needs to fend off the divisional competition, all while assessing how best the roster can be improved in the summer trade market. Unless Pivetta or Velazquez takes the job and runs with it, there could be more tinkering to come.
whoo, sending Irvin down in exchange for the refuse. shame the guy threw two bad pitches. otherwise he we pretty solid in his three starts.
One bad outing out of three does not deserve a ticket to AAA. This guy doesn’t over power anyone.so he must hit his spots.
Jamie Moyer used to be lit up when he wasn’t hitting his spots.
so true..but kapler is a moron dont forget.. all that tanning shrunk his alreqdy tiny brain .. i see him as another what amaro was to the phills…just because the best talent is there dosent mean he has a clue how to use it..
i meam waste millions amd leave it up to nola and some triple a pitching ?!?! duhhhhh
His second start was no great shakes, either, even though he got the win.
Yeah, it’s a little bit of a raw deal, but a contending team isn’t going to give a ton of chances to a rookie with marginal stuff. Best outcome for all concerned is probably to include him in a mideseason trade for a veteran SP.
2 more cycles through the rotation til Keuchel. Surely the Phil’s brass are at least contemplating.
I’m sure they are. But I’d rather them go after someone at the deadline. Not sure how long it’ll take kuechal to get back, and if he will be anything of what he was
Best case scenario they sign him June 4th. And then what, he’s ready to make his first start maybe by July 4th? By that time their will have been trades made or at least the ground work will be being laid to trade for a proven (this year) commodity.
Agreed. He fits right in as #3 come playoff time.
That is if the Phils make the Playoffs
Why wouldn’t you bring back Pivetta??
Because he has a terrible MLB track record and he’s putting up a pretty average performance in the minors.
I like strikeouts as much as the next guy but he had good strikeout numbers in the majors too and where did that get him? He’s walked at least three batters in each of his six AAA starts. And his latest start was 5 Innings of three run ball with four more walks. That’s not very inspiring.
Yeah, Vince doesn’t really deserve the spot either, but at least in the 5 innings he pitches, he keeps the team in the game.
Because he’s still doing the same things that got him sent to AAA to begin with.
Really Jeff? An 8.35 era versus a 3.86 era? Lots of guys do well in AAA. This isn’t AAA.
What is the issue? I didn’t suggest they should choose one over the other or downplay Pivetta’s struggles in the big leagues.
The only reason Vince has a 3.86 ERA is because he only goes about 3 innings every start. By the time it’s the 4th inning his pitch count is already in the late 80’s early 90’s. Although I don’t think Pivetta should get the job either.
This Pivetta infatuation should have ended with his demotion. Until he learns a change up or split he will always be a AAAA pitcher.
They need two starters and whoever get this spot is just keeping the seat warm until the deadline so it’s kinda whatever.
Legitimately worried about Nola. To say that Arrieta has been mediocre would be giving him too much credit. And after that, who knows? I like Eickhoff more than most and am happy he’s got his spot for now. But come deadline time I don’t think all four of Eickhoff, Pivetta, Velasquez and Eflin will be pitching at an above average level. I’m fully expecting one of them to be, and if you’re realllllllly lucky maybe one of the others is serviceable.
How is Enyel De Los Santos not the next guy up?
I can’t wrap my head around that one either. He’s dominated in AAA in his time with the Phillies and pitched OK for the two or three starts he had in the majors last year. Now this year they have been calling up and the optioning him every time they need a fresh arm in the pen. Don’t know if he even could start at this point because he’s just been sitting in the pen for weeks.
agreed. there are in house options not perused yet.
Call Toronto and see what it will take to get Stroman. That may be where Philly is at.
Do you think they are better off getting a lefty?
why did we waste all that money and yet not aquire any pitching..what a waste
VV TO THE PEN! It’s been 4 years already
Agreed put Velasquez in the pen. He might turn out to be good in the pen using his fastball.