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Phillies’ stacked rotation means rookie Vance Worley may be in playoff bullpen

Sep 12, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Vance Worley Getty Images

Everyone expected Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels to be amazing this season, but injuries to the rest of Philadelphia’s rotation opened the door for Vance Worley to claim a full-time spot and the 23-year-old rookie has responded by going 11-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 117 innings.

On many teams that would put him in line to start Game 1 or Game 2 of the playoffs, but with the Phillies he may not even be in the postseason rotation. And he’s OK with that.

When asked yesterday about Worley’s likely October role manager Charlie Manuel was uncertain, but Worley told Todd Zolecki of that he’s fine doing whatever job is needed: “I’m just glad to be here. I don’t really care what my role is. I’m just glad to be able to contribute.”

Which is exactly what you’d hope a 23-year-old rookie would say, although Worley did add that he’d prefer to prepare for a bullpen role by working strictly as a reliever rather than bouncing back and forth.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    He won’t be needed at all come postseason time. He can sit in the bullpen next to Fat Joe, watching him eat a bucket of KFC.

    • CJ - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      just one bucket? what about the other 8 innings?

      • paulsdamnblog - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        That’s when all of the 5 buck boxes come from taco bell.

  2. Jonny 5 - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    This guy could be very valuable from the pen. He’s got the ability to shut down an offense for an inning or two If they need it.

  3. phillydano - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Obviously, Roy Oswalt is deserving of the 4 spot in the rotation, based on experience. But we will see how he finishes the year now that he is back from mid-season injury. I expect Oswalt to reach his top form by the time the playoffs roll around.

    Worley will be an excellent long man in the pen. Kendrick will back him up. Joe Blanton will be left off the roster, and will be eating his KFC in the Phillies dugout during the playoffs.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Been a little rainy around here lately. So let’s consider, would be nice to have a spare bionic arm to come in if say we hit an hour rain delay in the third inning of an aces start, eh?

  5. philly56 - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Hopefully Joe stays in the bullpen with his chicken throughout the postseason – because Worley would do far better in relief than a fat joe who hasn’t done anything all year long except be fat.

  6. CJ - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    This has been hotly debated in Philly recently, but really what it really comes down to is that, even though he’s clearly outpitched Oswalt this season, a) Oswalt has postseason experience, and b) Oswalt has a balky back and needs a routine. He could have difficulty getting loose in the ‘pen.

    I’d love to see Worley in the pen for the postseason, but unfortunately if Oswalt is the 4th starter, Worely might not make the playoff roster at all with Kendrick and Blanton both able to be used as long men in the bullpen.

    With the four starts the Phils have, there’s no reason to have 3 long men in the bullpen. It wouldn’t shock me if Manuel went with an extra bench player over Worely and left him off the postseason roster entirely. That’s not what I would do (I’d take Worley over Blanton and leave him off if that’s possible…at least Kendrick has had some success coming out of the pen this year), but it’s what I expect to happen.

  7. eaglebobby - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Worley won’t be left off the post season roster. Blanton will because he’ll only have 2 weeks of use–if they decide to use him at all. Right now, I think they have to have a 2nd LHP in the bullpen whether it be Zagurski, Perez, or if they decide to place Joe Savery on the 40 man roster and bring him up.

  8. rgfyvp - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Good problem to have in the midst of all the starting pitching issues the yanks, sox, and most other teams are having at this point in the season…..

  9. paulsdamnblog - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    You know I love all the hate on Joe Blanton. The guy hit a homerun and won a game in the ’08 series, puts on a few pounds, gets hurt and now he’s “fat Joe”.

    • paulsdamnblog - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      Oh and for the record, I wouldn’t want Worley sitting next to him in th dugout or the ‘pen. He might lose a hand in Blantons eating frenzy.

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