Phillies Return Irvin to Triple-A, but Rotation Plan is Not Set
When the Phillies summoned left-handed starting pitcher Cole Irvin from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he pitched well in his first start. He was also good in his second start. Start number three against the Chicago Cubs and old friend Cole Hamels did not go as well. After allowing seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday night, Irvin was sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
In the interim, the Phillies recalled pitcher Drew Anderson. Anderson will not enter the starting rotation; he will serve as depth in the Phillies bullpen for the foreseeable future. The Phillies have until Tuesday (thanks to a day off on Monday) to figure out who pitches on Tuesday night.
According to MLB.com's Russell Dorsey, the nod could go to either Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta:
“We were just thinking about the start vs. St. Louis [on Tuesday],” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We know that Cole is going to go work on his craft, and the next time he comes up, he’ll be even better than he was this time.”
Kapler told reporters after Thursday's game that Tuesday's starter will likely be either Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta.
Who they choose could be interesting.
The rotation spot occupied by Irvin used to belong to Velasquez, who hit the disabled list with a mild strain in his forearm. Velasquez is throwing and could be activated soon. However, a combination of Velasquez's performance prior to the injury and the success of Pivetta at Triple-A make it complicated.
Pivetta was recently named International League Pitcher of the Week. PIvetta is 4-1 with a 3.41 earned run average since his demotion to Triple-A. Either Pivetta or Velasquez could find themselves in the Phillies bullpen as well.
The Phillies had been tied to the likes of Mike Minor in trade talk, though nothing has materialized. It's unlikely they would make a trade by Tuesday.
The Phillies will have to do something by Tuesday. The recently-taxed Phillies bullpen will not have things much easier in Milwaukee this weekend. The Phillies split a four-game series with the Cubs, but not without an overworked and frustrating bullpen performance.