Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happ makes his case, will it be enough?

(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
Amidst all the discussion about what the Phillies should do with their starting pitcher "problem", the man that many thought would be pushed aside to the bullpen stood up and made his case for a permanent spot in the rotation. J.A. Happ pitched 9 innings of shutout ball against the Rockies, leading the Phillies to a 7-0 win. Happ needed 127 pitches to do it, but he only allowed 4 hits and 2 walks while he struck out 10 Rockies to pitch a gem. He even threw in a double at the plate for good measure.

So, what it all enough to secure Happ's spot in the rotation? With Pedro Martinez opening eyes with an 11 strikeout effort in a 6 inning start for Double A Reading, the question still lingers: What will the Phillies do? With Jamie Moyer of no use to the team except as a starter and Martinez looking ready to step into the big league rotation, the Phillies don't seem to have many options. Happ has spent some time in the bullpen already this season, so unfortunately in this case his versatility may be his downfall. The Phillies won't send Moyer to the pen and I can't foresee the team at least not trying Pedro out as a starter, so that leaves Happ as the odd man out, which is a ridiculous notion. How does someone pitch one of the most dominant games for the Phillies all season long and then get ousted from the rotation?

Such is the conundrum that the Phillies now face. I would expect every blogger and Philly related website to have their take on this situation, so I might as well weigh in with my opinion. With the 6 game lead they have opened up in the NL East, the Phillies are going to inevitably make the playoffs. They need to figure out who the best four starters are for the team and make sure that each is in the rotation for the rest of the season as they prepare for a playoff run. Happ has certainly done enough to prove that he belongs in the playoff rotation, along with Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, so what happens to Pedro and Moyer? The Phillies need to see what they have with Pedro, so, sadly, they need to figure out something to do with Jamie Moyer. Whether it's some kind of phantom injury that sends him to the DL or the Phillies begin transitioning him to a coaching role, Moyer has to step aside. It's a tough call to make, but if the Phillies want to give themselves the best shot to win this year, Moyer can't be a part of the rotation.

Look, I like the Old Man as much as the next person, but even he has to see the writing on the wall. The Phillies have to go with the best option to win now, and Jamie Moyer isn't in the mix. One only needs to look at what Moyer did on Tuesday against the Rockies and compare that to Happ's performance on Wednesday and realize there is no question: Happ needs to stay in the rotation. I hope the Phillies realize that Happ has to stay and they can figure out a way to end things nicely with Jamie Moyer. Unfortunately, I have a feeling the Phillies won't have the guts and instead will force the kid to the bullpen. Let's hope I'm wrong and the Phillies do what's best for the team: Save Happ.


Louise said...

After their slow start, the Philadelphia Phillies are starting to turn it on but they’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB. I really got lost when I was looking for a ticket & finally I found it at a good price so let me share it with u guys:

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. I would like to get updated with you new posts as I love to read your blog. Add me to your mailing list if you have any.