Phillies seemingly moving Vince Velasquez back to rotation – for now
The Phillies are once again letting Vince Velasquez pitch in the starting rotation, but who knows how long it will last before he’s out again?
When Vince Velasquez was first moved to the bullpen, he was not happy by any measure. He felt like he deserves to be in the starting rotation. The Phillies are now giving him a chance to prove it as he will make his second straight start Saturday.
Velasquez made his first start since May 6 in last Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. He gave up three runs in the first inning and a fourth later on to finish his day with four runs allowed on four hits with four strikeouts in 2.1 innings. He was the losing pitcher in the blowout loss.
Despite his rough return to the rotation, Velasquez will start once again on Saturday with the rotation still lacking a fifth starter. WIthout any better options internally and no trades on the horizon, Velasquez now has the chance to rejoin the rotation he feels that he belongs in.
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When Velasquez opened the year in the rotation, his somewhat low ERA belied his actual performance on the mound. In six starts, he walked 15 batters, surrendered seven home runs, and posted a 5.64 fielding-independent pitching. Velasquez may have felt like he deserved to be in the rotation, but his numbers didn’t back that up.
Velasquez’s overall numbers the last few years don’t suggest he has a magical turnaround hiding at 27 years old. In 63 appearances since 2017, he has a 4.90 ERA, 4.53 fielding-independent pitching, 3.9 walks per nine innings, a 1.416 WHIP, and 41 home runs allowed.
Velasquez’s only real skill has been striking batters out with 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings, but his reliance on the strikeout leads to inefficient short outings that tax the bullpen.
This will likely be Velasquez’s last shot to stick in the rotation before moving to the bullpen for the rest of his time as a Phillie. His previous numbers indicate that he may not be long for the rotation, putting the team right back in the hole. For his sake, and the sake of the Phillies, I hope he finds a way to stick.