The Phillies and Mets (of all teams) have a similar problem that has to be addressed. Both teams number five starting spot is up-for-grabs. As Richard Marsh, explained in his slide-show about the New York Mets five rotation issue, the Philadelphia Phillies have one of their own that has to be addressed.
As of right now, it is a four man slug-fest for the fifth starting spot between Rookie and top prospect Carlos Carrasco, 2nd year lefty J.A. Happ, third year righty Kyle Kendrick, and veteran right-hander Chan Ho Park. Sub-par veteran right-hander, Adam Eaton has ultimately been "eliminated" from the running; due to his sub-par performance throughout his tenure in Philadelphia going 14-18 in two seasons.
The fifth starting spot has always been a problem for the Phillies.
During the 2008 season the Phillies used a number of different pitchers down the stretch when Kendrick ran out of gas and Eaton just imploded.
Onward to the pitchers fighting for that coveted fifth spot.
In the green corner: Kyle is returning from a season which featured both his high and low points. At the crux of the season, he was removed due to a number of problems. The 2008 season saw him have a career high in wins, but a career high in losses, E.R.A., walks, etc.
11-9, 5.49 ERA, 68 SO, 52 BB in 31 games, 30 of which he started with 155.2 Innings Pitched.
21-13, 4.78 ERA, 117 SO, 82 BB in 51 games, 50 of which he started with 276.2 Innnings Pitched
Keys to regaining the fifth starting spot: show he can command his slider, show he's willing to use his changeup and show that he can get left-handed hitters out better. Has to regain his confidence, throw his changeup more and show the Phillies that he is every bit as capable of being a consistent winner like he was in 2007 and early in '08.
James Anthony (J.A.) Happ
In the red corner: J.A. (pronounced: JAY) Happ saw his first career win last season The Phillies won the four games he started, including two games against the Braves in September, when Happ replaced Kendrick in the rotation. Happ proved he can compete in critical situations. He finished strong. He made the postseason roster. So he enters Spring Training with plenty of people feeling good about him.
1-0, 3.69 ERA, 26 SO, 14 BB, 31.2 IP in eight games, four of which he started.
1-1, 4.54 ERA, 31 SO, 16 BB, 35.2 IP in nine games, five of which he started.
Keys to earning the fifth starting spot: outshine all other candidates for the job.
Chan Ho Park
In the blue corner: Park, came here to Philadelphia to do one thing: start. I don't think he expected there to be competition for the fifth starter's job, though. In 280 career starts, Park is 112-85. And last season went 4-4 in 54 appearances, going 1-0 in four starts. But since the 2001 season Park has gone 34-34, 5.48 ERA in 104 starts with L.A.
2008 Season with Los Angeles Dodgers
4-4, 3.40 ERA, 95.1 IP, 79 SO, 39 BB, 2 SV out of 5 SVO in 54 games, five of which he started.
117-94, 4.34 ERA, 1590 SO, 858 BB, 1846.0 IP, 2 SV, in 378 games, 280 of which he started.
Keys to earning the fifth starting spot: prove that veteran know-how is better than youth. As an accomplished starter user the experience to earn the spot.
And finally in this corner, the Phillies top Minor League Pitching Prospect. He will be pitching most likely for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He is highly-toted, and looks forward to breaking into the rotation sometime soon.
2008 Season in Minors
7-7, 4.32 ERA at AA Reading; 2-2, 1.72 ERA at AAA Lehigh Valley; 3-0, 2.11 in 11 starts in a Venezuelan Winter League.
27-20, 3.93 ERA, 510 SO, 240 BB, 581.1 IP in 108 Games, 103 of which he started.
Keys to earning the fifth spot: prove the hype about you is right. Don't expect anything other than most likely a full year at AAA. But be ready if none of the other three don't perform. Show unbelievable poise for someone at his age (21).
Let the fight begin. Let the debating begin.