Suppose the Phillies come out of Spring Training with six, seven or eight starters pitching well. What are the chances they go with a six-man rotation to start the season? — Steven V., West Chester, Pa.
First, the Phils would love to have a problem like this. Second, the six-man-rotation question always gets asked by either fans or reporters. The manager or pitching coach typically replies, “Sure, I guess we’d consider that.” Because hey, everybody considers everything, right?
But the reality is that it never happens. Here’s my opinion: The Phillies should be trying to build up their starters for the grind of a six-month season, plus the postseason, by having them pitch every five days. Babying the young starters with a six-man rotation isn’t the way to go.
So in the event there are more than five starting pitchers throwing the ball well, pick the best five and have the rest start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where they will be on a five-day schedule. Don’t worry about robbing a deserving pitcher of an opportunity to pitch in the Majors. On average, big league teams used 11.1 starting pitchers last season. There will be plenty of chances for everybody.
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