Williams Scratch Shows Never Enough Pitching


With Jerome Williams now scratched from his scheduled start today due to an issue with his right hamstring, the Phillies are learning the value of an old baseball adage: you never have enough pitching.

The injury to Williams is not considered major, described as a “tweak”, and he is currently listed as being in “day-to-day” status. Inquirer sports writer Matt Breen tweeted earlier that Williams was all set for his Saint Patrick’s Day start:

While the green glove would have been perfectly appropriate for Saint Patrick’s Day, it also held a special significance for Williams. He normally wears a pink glove, in tribute to his mother who died of breast cancer back in 2011. As reported by Jim Salisbury, Williams is expanding awareness to other cancers, and the green glove is for liver cancer awareness.

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Williams has been solid for the team ever since being selected off waivers from the Texas Rangers last August. The 33-year old righthander went 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.134 WHIP in 9 starts for the Phils, allowing 48 hits in 57.1 innings with a 38-17 K/BB rate.

This spring, Williams has made 3 appearances, 2 starts, and has a 3.38 ERA, allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits across 8 total innings thus far. He will try to make his next start this coming weekend.

The Fightin’ Phils have already lost Cliff Lee, probably for the season, possibly for his career, due to continuing elbow issues involving his UCL that is likely to require Tommy John surgery. Aaron Harang has missed two starts already due to back discomfort problems.

The injuries to these hoped-for members of the Phils 2015 starting rotation demonstrate the truth behind that old pitching adage. GM Ruben Amaro has added a bunch of arms with MLB experience this winter, and invited some non-roster pitchers to spring training, in case of such injuries cropping up.

Among the arms with an increasing chance to see action in the Phillies rotation as each arm goes down with injury or gets traded are Kevin Slowey, Paul Clemens, Sean O’Sullivan, possibly even Joely Rodriguez. The team could still bring in an experienced arm waived by another club later in the spring.

Right now, counting only completely healthy starting pitchers, the Phillies rotation stacks up as Cole Hamels, David Buchanan, and…and…and…well, that’s it. Chad Billingsley is expected to be in the rotation, but won’t be ready until some time later in April. For today, Buchanan gets the starting nod.