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Phillies: Do Pivetta or Velasquez benefit from a shorter season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16: Nick Pivetta #43 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with pitching coach Chris Young #45 in the dugout during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 14-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16: Nick Pivetta #43 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with pitching coach Chris Young #45 in the dugout during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 14-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 03: A general exterior view of Citizens Bank Park during the summer workouts on July 3, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The battle for a final spot in the Phillies rotation has resumed

Right around six months ago I wrote a piece detailing the battle that we all assumed would take place for the fifth spot in the Phillies starting rotation: Nick Pivetta vs Vince Velasquez. Both pitchers have struggled mightily during their Phillies careers, and with Spencer Howard knocking on the door, it was likely both would have a pretty short leash in 2020.

However, that was six months ago. Since then, the entire world (baseball included) has flipped upside down. Spring Training was cut short, the MLB season was delayed, a 60 game abbreviated schedule was agreed upon, and players left and right are opting out of playing due to COVID-19 concerns.

New Phillies ace Zack Wheeler himself has even expressed concern about playing due to his wife expecting a child in the near future.

With everything that has taken place over the last few months, it’s starting to look like the Pivetta vs Velasquez debate will end up happening after all. Not only is there a great deal of uncertainty regarding just general player health (pitchers could come down with the virus at any moment and miss multiple weeks), but a shortened season might actually help guys like Pivetta and Velasquez.

Both pitchers possess some serious heat when it comes to their fastball, and both have been used as relievers in the past (in an effort to maximize their strengths over the course of a few innings as opposed to an entire game). While it’s still unclear what the Phillies’ official five man rotation will look like come July 24, here’s to at least exploring the idea of starting Velasquez and/or Pivetta once in a while.