Phillies: Four things to watch for in first Marlins series
Vince Velasquez’s second start
After Eflin takes the mound Saturday, Vince Velasquez will make his second start of the season in the series finale Sunday afternoon.
Velasquez kept the Nationals reasonably quiet in his first start of 2019 Monday night, giving up two runs in five innings on four hits and no walks. Both runs came on a Kurt Suzuki home run in the second inning.
Velasquez still ran into his usual issue of inefficiency, requiring 80 pitches to get through five innings. He ran up six 3-2 counts against the 18 batters, but only one of them resulted in a strikeout. His only other strikeout came in a five-pitch at-bat to the opposing pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
Once again, Velasquez still leaned on his fastball, using it 47 times (58.75%) Monday night, but he only generated two swinging strikes with it. His curveball was his second-most used pitch, throwing it 19 times, producing just one swinging strike. The inability to mix up pitches and generate swinging strikes leads to inefficiency issues, taxing the bullpen.
Velasquez didn’t inspire confidence during spring training, surrendering nine runs and three home runs in 6.1 innings. His 15 strikeouts were nice but outweighed by the 11 hits and seven walks allowed over his three appearances.
As mentioned previously, the Marlins are a terrible offensive team. If Velasquez still struggles to put hitters away against them, then some serious conversations about his future as a starter need to be had. The Phillies are looking for any help they can get in the rotation; hopefully, Velasquez can provide some.