Vince Velasquez has a 7.74 ERA in his last 10 starts yet Phillies manager Joe Girardi said the pitcher remains the team’s best option to start Thursday’s series finale against Washington.
The Phillies are thin on rotation options while Zach Eflin is on the injured list and Bailey Falter is on the COVID-19 list, but they did activate Chase Anderson on Sunday afternoon. But they will stick with Velasquez, who recorded just seven outs on Saturday night, on Thursday afternoon against possibly Max Scherzer.
“It’s just what we have decided to do,” Girardi said. “We’ve talked about it internally. We just felt Vince was probably the option that we are going to stay with.”
Girardi pulled Velasquez on Saturday night after he allowed six runs − two of which scored after he was lifted – on 53 pitches. Velasquez said after the game that he was “thrown off guard” to be removed early and “still had a lot of arm left.” Girardi was asked Monday if he explained to Velasquez why he gave him an early hook.
“No. He was scuffling. That’s why I took him out,” Girardi said. “He had an ERA over 7 in his last three starts.”
The Phillies do not yet see Anderson, who they signed this offseason for $4 million, as a replacement. He had a 7.34 ERA in 11 games before spending a month on the COVID-19 list.
The right-hander finished his rehab assignment last week with triple-A Lehigh Valley by throwing 102 pitches in his fifth start with the IronPigs. Anderson posted a 5.71 ERA in those five starts. He’ll remain in the bullpen as a long reliever.
The Phillies remain in the market for a starting pitcher before Friday’s trade deadline, which leaves the chance that they could acquire a starter before Thursday. If not, it will be Velasquez.
“We haven’t made that decision that we’re going to start Chase yet,” Girardi said. “Vinny has struggled. I get that. But right now, it’s Vinny.”
Hammer, Jankowski could return soon
J.D. Hammer and Travis Jankowski are expected to return in the next few days from the COVID-19 injured list but Bailey Falter is “still not there,” Girardi said.
Jankowski was placed on the list Sunday morning as a precaution after not feeling well. The outfielder did not test positive for the coronavirus. Relief pitchers Falter and Hammer were placed on the list last Tuesday in New York shortly before first pitch.
Hammer returning before 10 days indicates that he did not test positive for COVID-19. Falter, Girardi said, " had some symptoms, but he feels OK.” But Girardi would not say if Falter tested positive for the virus.
“I’m not allowed to say anything. Things have to come from the players,” he said.