Phillies Could Call on Jonathan Pettibone to Start Saturday

Throughout the spring, we were subjected to the competition between David Buchanan and Jeff Manship for the fifth spot in the Phillies’ rotation — organizational depth against, well, a guy with a career 6.29 ERA. To their credit, both pitched well in a small sample size. Buchanan finished with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings, while Manship posted a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings.

The Phillies initially expected to need a fifth starter on Sunday, April 13. Based on the way the off-days were situated, the Phillies could have skated through the first two weeks with a four-man rotation. However, because Monday’s home opener was postponed and rescheduled to Tuesday, the Phillies will need a fifth starter six days earlier than expected.

Yesterday, David Murphy wrote a column for the Philadelphia Daily News explaining why we could see Jonathan Pettibone, not Buchanan or Manship, make the start on Saturday against the Marlins — the fifth consecutive day the Phillies will play baseball. The factors in Pettibone’s favor:

  • Pettibone is comparatively a known product, having made 18 starts last season;
  • Pettibone is already on schedule to make a start on normal rest on Saturday anyway, having pitched on Sunday;
  • Pettibone is already on the 40-man roster, which is not the case for Buchanan

Pettibone missed the last two months of the 2013 season with a rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder. He was bothered by shoulder inflammation during spring training as well — he finished with just two innings pitched in Clearwater. In his only start of the season thus far on Sunday against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Pettibone allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out two in five innings. He threw 90 pitches in total.

There isn’t a whole lot of tangible difference between the three. In the sample size of one game, the Phillies are about as likely to get a gem or a clunker from Pettibone as you are from Manship or Buchanan. With this observation, the path of least resistance seems most ideal for the Phillies. In other words, why make a roster move to have Buchanan start, or move Manship from his mop-up role in the bullpen when they would have to do neither for Pettibone?

We’ll find out soon what the Phillies plan to do for Saturday’s game against the Marlins.

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  1. BradInDC

    April 08, 2014 08:43 AM

    This schedule change only cost them one day, not seven. They would have needed someone Sunday anyway, just that Buchanan was lined up to pitch that day on regular rest. Now it’s Pettibone, Manship, or someone on short rest, either Buchanan or possibly Kendrick, though it doesn’t seem anyone but me thinks that’s a good alternative. I would take Pettibone if he’s ready, and probably Kendrick thereafter with Buchanan Sunday on regular rest. Rather not throw a rookie to the wolves on three days rest when the alternative has at least shown himself to be a fairly fungible arm in the past.

  2. BradInDC

    April 08, 2014 08:44 AM

    Sorry, that was bad math/reading comprehension on my part – you said six days earlier, not seven.

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