Posted by Mike Frohwirth
In a pair of connected moves, the Phillies announced that RHP Kyle Kendrick will start in Pittsburgh on Saturday, and that LHP Mike Zagurski will replace optioned RHP Vance Worley on the MLB roster.
Why not just keep Vance Worley around?
Worley is the fifth-best (healthy) starter in the organization. To maximize his effectiveness as a starter, the Phils need to keep him "stretched-out", and on a starting pitcher's routine. The Phillies' uneven use of Worley in May did not leave the northpaw in optimal starting shape. Worley will likely make a couple of AAA starts, and rejoin the Phillies in a couple of weeks. The split doubleheader scheduled for June 15th will require the Phillies to use six starters, at least for that week. Using both Kendrick and Worley as starters in the interim should help prepare them to pitch deep into their starts that week.
Why not keep the first four starters on their regular rotation, and insert Kendrick into the rotation next week (June 7th or 8th)?
The Phillies' success has been, and likely will continue to be, predicated upon the health of the top four starters (Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt). Slotting Kendrick into the rotation on Saturday will enable the Phillies to give some extra days of rest to the top four. The move also gifts Phillies' fans with the glorious opportunity to see Kendrick start in conveniently-located Pittsburgh, rather than forcing them to travel to distant Los Angeles.
Why was LHP Zagurski recalled, rather than RHP Scott Mathieson or RHP David Herndon?
The Phillies wanted an immediate bullpen replacement, so Kendrick could have three days of rest before his Saturday start. Herndon has not been in AAA for the ten-day minimum stay, so he was not an immediate alternative. Neither Zagurski nor Mathieson has had much MLB success, but Zagurski has pitched better recently (in AAA). Perhaps the Phils wanted a additional lefty at the MLB level? It wouldn't be surprising to see Zagurski swapped out for Mathieson or Herndon, particularly if Zagurski has an extended outing (which would require multiple days of subsequent rest). The bullpen spot assumed by Zagurski likely won't exist much longer than two weeks. When the dust clears after the June 15th doubleheader, expect to see Worley as the Phillies' fifth starter, Kendrick as the Phils' long reliever, and Zagurski/Mathieson/Herndon sporting IronPigs' uniforms.