Sep 072010

Phillies rookie RHP Vance Worley

September 7 Philadelphia Daily News:

“Two hours before game time, Vance Worley sat at his locker in a black office chair and rocked back and forth, his bespectacled face betraying little emotion.

He said later that he had no problem zeroing in on the task at hand, and that any jitters that might have sneaked into his psyche were gone after his first pitch (a called strike, by the way).

His final line – five innings, six hits, two runs, one walk, five strikeouts – was solid enough.

Now, the question: Will Worley’s first big league start be followed by a second?

“I’m not even thinking about that,” said manager Charlie Manuel, who seemed far more preoccupied with another baffling performance from his offense in the Phillies‘ 7-1 loss to the Marlins in the first game of yesterday’s day/night doubleheader. “Really. I’m not thinking about that.”

More than likely, Manuel will think about it at some point before Saturday. That’s when righthander Kyle Kendrick, who has allowed nine earned runs in nine innings in his last two outings, is scheduled to make his next start. Before a rough outing against the Brewers on Sunday when he allowed a three-run home run to Prince Fielder despite having a base open to pitch around the lefty slugger, there was little reason to doubt Kendrick’s job security. While his 4.72 ERA wasn’t ideal, he had for the most part avoided the types of bullpen-stretching outings that plagued him in April, when he allowed at least four earned runs in five or fewer innings in four of his first five starts.

Even when you factor in Sunday’s outing, which he finished with five earned runs in four innings, he is 9-7 with a 4.41 ERA in his last 24 games (22 starts).

But Kendrick has allowed 18 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings in his last four starts, three of which have resulted in Phillies‘ losses. And Worley certainly didn’t remove himself from consideration for another start with his performance against the Marlins yesterday, allowing two runs in five innings before leaving for a pinch-hitter after just 76 pitches.

“I felt like he threw five innings and he did a good job,” Manuel said. “He kept us right where we wanted to go. First start in the big leagues, he was fine.”

The Phillies will only need a fifth starter three more times this season. In the rotation’s current order, they have an opportunity to pitch one of their aces – Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt – all six times they face the Braves in the last 2 weeks of the season. Kendrick is scheduled to pitch Saturday at Citi Field, where he held the Mets to one run in 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 win on Aug. 15. But the last two starts would likely come against the Nationals, who have scored at least five runs in all three of their games against him this season.

“As long as I’m in the back of [Manuel’s] mind,” Worley said. “Hopefully I get another opportunity.””

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