With three doubleheaders next week alone, the Phillies will reach a point within the next 10 days when they need not just a sixth starter but a seventh starter.
They have a doubleheader Tuesday against the Red Sox, Friday against the Marlins and Sunday against the Marlins.
Vince Velasquez will start one game in Tuesday's doubleheader and will be capable of throwing up to 90 pitches, Phils manager Joe Girardi said.
There is another doubleheader on Sunday Velasquez could start, but it may make more sense to make that a bullpen game and start Velasquez Monday.
Laying out the rotation through then shows why ...
Saturday at Mets: Spencer Howard
Sunday at Mets: Aaron Nola
Monday at Mets: Zack Wheeler
Tuesday at Red Sox: Vince Velasquez
Tuesday at Red Sox: Zach Eflin
Thursday at Miami: Jake Arrieta
Friday at Miami: Spencer Howard
Friday at Miami: Aaron Nola
Saturday at Miami: Zack Wheeler
Sunday at Miami: Zach Eflin
Sunday at Miami: Bullpen game
Monday at Miami: Vince Velasquez
If the Phillies started Velasquez Sunday in that doubleheader, it would force them to use Cole Irvin, Mauricio Llovera or a bullpen game in a nine-inning game Monday. You'd rather the bullpen game take place in a seven-inning doubleheader than a normal nine-inning game.
A bullpen game wouldn't be the worst option. Ranger Suarez, David Phelps, Blake Parker and Tommy Hunter are all capable of pitching more than one inning for the Phils.
Aside from the starting rotation and Velasquez, Irvin and Llovera are the only pitchers on the Phillies' 40-man roster stretched out to pitch more than a few innings. Irvin was hit hard in July and Llovera hasn't pitched above Double A, where he posted a 4.55 ERA last season.