Phillies starter flirts with no-no, adds to impressive case to stick in the rotation

Spencer Turnbull has done everything the Phillies have asked and more, including another lights out performance on Friday.
Philadelphia Phillies starter Spencer Turnbull flirted with his second- career no-hitter on Friday
Philadelphia Phillies starter Spencer Turnbull flirted with his second- career no-hitter on Friday / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia Phillies' 7-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night was the latest performance from a Phillies starting rotation that's starting to put up some eye-popping numbers. For those counting at home, that's now 29 1/3 innings of one-run ball in the last four games. It's not fun to be an opposing hitter right now.

And sorry, White Sox, Zack Wheeler is starting Saturday's ballgame.

Spencer Turnbull was simply dealing in Friday's victory against the Chi Sox. Turnbull took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Gavin Sheets broke up the no-no with a line-drive single to right field. It was fun while it lasted, but Turnbull's chance at a second career no-hitter will have to wait.

Turnbull gave up one hit and zero runs in his seven frames while only walking two batters. With the win, Turnbull improves to 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts.

While Turnbull has had success in his first four starts in a Phillies uniform, it's likely he will be on the outside looking in next week, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Taijuan Walker is expected to come off the IL and make his regular-season debut. It will be a move that will not prove popular with Phillies fan's hoping that Turnbull joins the rotation permanently.

While the Phillies will be strict with maintaining innings limits with Turnbull this season, even manager Rob Thomson wouldn't disclose if Walker's return will push Turnbull back into the bullpen. Speaking to the media after the game, Thomson admitted that he and the Phillies front office haven't made a decision on Turnbull's spot in the rotation yet, but admitted it will be tough to take the ball away from the 31-year-old righty.

“We don’t know what the decision is, but again, it’s an innings limit,” Thomson said, per Zolecki. “It’s just what it is. And I don’t know what that limit is. Usually you go up to 30 or 40 from the year before, but with our diagnostics and what they can do with the arm now, who knows? But we’re not going to put him in jeopardy.”

Taijuan Walker could return to the Phillies rotation next week

The Phillies have been without Walker since the end of spring training when a shoulder injury forced Walker to begin the season on the IL. While reports this week pointed to Walker's return being ahead of schedule, Zolecki has since reported that Walker will make one more start on Sunday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Sunday will be a major start for Walker as he tries to prove that he's healthy and ready to return to his spot in the rotation. Whatever decision the Phillies make, it's sure to be controversial as Turnbull has been nearly unhittable in three of his four starts.

The Phillies won't be complaining because having six strong starting pitchers is a rare luxury in an injury-plagued season for MLB rotations.

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