Philadelphia Phillies Midseason Report Cards: Starting Rotation

Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Phillies pitchers Vince Velasquez and Chase Anderson

Vince Velasquez

Full disclaimer: there’s a bit of a recency bias to this because we just watched him give up eight earned runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings at Fenway Park. He only faced 17 batters.

Nevertheless, Vince Velasquez is not doing the Phillies any favors. He makes Eflin and Nola look reliable, and that’s saying a lot this season. Coming into Friday’s game, he had a 4.50 ERA over 17 games, 13 of them starts. He began the season in the bullpen, and was actually worse there. His first three appearances of the season were in relief, and he had a 9.00 ERA over four innings. He then made five starts between April 23-May 14, and posted a 2.84 ERA over those games.

Since making a relief appearance on May 21, Velasquez has only been used as a starter. Over those nine starts, he has a 6.70 ERA and has allowed 31 earned runs in 41 2/3 innings.

Like many of his teammates – pitchers, especially – Velasquez has shown flashes of effectiveness. He has five scoreless appearances this season (two starts), which is more than Eflin can say.

Aside from his debut season with the Astros in 2015, Velasquez has been in Philadelphia his entire career, and he’s never finished the season with an ERA under 4.12. This season, he leads the entire pitching staff with 40 walks; no other pitcher has more than 29.

If possible, it’s time for the Phillies to move on.

Midseason Grade: C-

Chase Anderson

Anderson has been on the IL since June 10. Prior to that, he had a 7.34 ERA on the season over 11 games and eight starts.

After struggling with the Blue Jays to the tune of a 7.22 ERA over 10 games in 2020, the 32-year-old signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia during the offseason. It was clear that the Phillies were hoping that he could return to his earlier career form. He was particularly excellent with the Brewers in 2017, posting a personal-best 2.74 ERA over 25 starts and striking out a career-high 133 batters.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Anderson is now having his worst season yet. He’s only thrown 38 innings, but has allowed 31 earned runs. He is averaging less than a strikeout per inning pitched, with only 29 total on the season. His rotation-mate Eflin has walked 14 batters over 102 innings; Anderson has walked 17 over 38.

Anderson’s rehab stint in Triple-A Lehigh Valley isn’t inspiring much confidence, either. On July 10, he made his third start, pitching three innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits. He did strike out six batters and didn’t issue a walk, but the Phillies will need him to be more effective than he’s been. He has allowed at least one earned run in every one of his 11 big-league appearances, and has allowed two or more in nine.

Barring some kind of magical second half (or finding a team that would trade for him, which is highly unlikely), his one-year deal will be the only Phillies chapter in the book of his life.

Midseason Grade: D-