Phillies Yet to Set Starting Rotation
With Jared Eickhoff set to open the season on the disabled list with a strained lat, causing him to miss 6-8 weeks; no announcement has been made yet as to how the Phillies rotation will look when the team heads north next week.
We know Aaron Nola will start the opener and Vince Velasquez somewhere in the rotation, but we don't know when Jake Arrieta will be ready to make his first start, who will replace Eickhoff and who will fill out the fifth spot in the rotation.
It’s believed that Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta are the most likely candidates to fill the final two spots, with one replacing Eickhoff, the other winning the fifth spot, with Zach Eflin likely heading to either Triple-A or the bullpen.
Lively looked good on Tuesday, striking out four over five innings as the Phillies beat the Jays 2-0 in seven innings. Pivetta has one start left to make an impression next week, after throwing two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Another candidate who is out-of-the-running is Mark Leiter, who has been diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his right arm, and is expected to be sidelined until late April or early May.
The best guess here is Nola goes Thursday in the season opener, Velasquez gets the ball Friday and Lively starts on Saturday. The team has an off-day on Sunday, so expect to see Pivetta face the Mets, followed by Nola and Velasquez.
This would line Arrieta to make his Phillies debut in the home-opener on Thursday, April 5 against the Marlins.