Phillies Activate Velasquez, Shift Morgan to Pen
The Phillies will get a boost to their starting rotation, activating right-hander Vincent Velasquez, who will get the start Monday night in Arizona. To make room for Velasquez, who was shut down for two weeks due to a right biceps strain, the Phillies have optioned Elvis Araujo to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Velasquez's return means Adam Morgan will move to the bullpen, it also means that Zach Eflin will remain in the rotation. Eflin pitched six innings and allowed just an unearned run Friday in a no-decision against the Giants, making it his second solid start since he gave up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his major league debut.
With the return of Velasquez should help the Phillies rotation, but one question mark is becoming Aaron Nola. Nola struggled again, giving up five earned runs over 3 1/3 innings Sunday in the Phillies' loss to the Giants.
"He was having a really, really good season flying under the radar on a bad team, but now that’s what makes these starts so surprising," Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki from MLB.com said about Nola on the Sports Bash.
"He was so good for so long, and then the wheels have just absolutely fallen off.”
This is the fourth straight start where Nola has failed to go past the fourth inning. In 10 innings, he has been roughed up for 32 hits and issued seven walks.
"It has been totally baffling to me," Zolecki added.
"I mean he’s healthy, and the only reason I can say that and believe that is because his velocity is there. It’s not likes he’s going from 92 to 87, his velocity is there, in fact he was throwing a little harder last night. It’s clearly a mechanical thing, this is a guy who’s entire game is control, he doesn’t walk anybody. He was among the top 10 in walks per nine innings out of 129 pitchers in baseball just three starts ago, and he’s walked seven in nine and two-thirds innings in his last three starts so it’s a mechanical issue."