Phillies: Vince Velasquez to start in Joe Girardi’s Bronx return
By Matt Rappa
The order of the Phillies starting rotation may not be what we expected it to be
On Monday, Philadelphia Phillies skipper Joe Girardi will return to Yankee Stadium for the first time as a manager since his 10-year stint in the role for the New York Yankees, 2008-2017.
The 2009 World Series champion skipper says things are “going to be different,” as he will “be going to different clubhouse.”
After splitting their first two exhibition games — defeating the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals on Saturday but falling short against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday — Monday’s exhibition will be the Phillies’ last chance to play against another opponent before Opening Day.
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The July 24 contest’s probable Phillies starter, Aaron Nola shined in the first exhibition game and earned a winning decision after tossing five scoreless frames. No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler started on Sunday and was credited with the loss, allowing two runs, four hits, and one walk across 4 1/3 innings.
The expected order in the rotation would mean veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta would get the nod in Monday’s interleague exhibition contest in the Bronx, but that will not be the case.
Instead, fellow right-hander Vince Velasquez, who impressed in last week’s intrasquad scrimmage, will get the starting nod as he seeks to strengthen his chances to have a spot in the rotation.
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Girardi told reporters following Sunday’s loss to the Orioles that the Phillies are going to “play with the rotation maybe a little bit” and to “stay tuned.”
“Girardi was vague in his reasoning for the pitching alignment,” NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury writes, “saying he didn’t want Velasquez to go too long between outings.”
Arrieta will instead pitch in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, just two days before the season opener. Originally expected No. 4 starter Zach Eflin threw in a simulated game on Saturday and will do so again on Thursday.
Perhaps Velasquez is higher in the rotation “totem pole” than we thought. After Nola and Wheeler, the order seems to be up in the air as the Phillies plan to face the Marlins in their first three regular season games, followed by two at home and two on the road opposite the Yankees.
Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce will not make the trek up north on Monday; former Yankee Didi Gregorius will however, along with J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, and Scott Kingery as the designated hitter, reports NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman.
Time will tell as to exactly how the Phillies will “play with the rotation.”