The Phillies just can't catch a break this season. Whenever it seems like they are finally getting it together, something comes along and knocks it all out of place. When the pitching is on, the bats stop. When the bats start producing, the pitching can't get it together. And when everything starts to click, someone gets injured.
It's been a vicious cycle for the five-time defending National League East champs, who are now faced with an unenviable situation of having to go without ace Roy Halladay for a undetermined amount of time. The right-hander, who left Sunday's game due to right shoulder soreness, is scheduled to get examined on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. Until then, they are left in the dark and wondering about how they will get by if Halladay is down for a significant amount of time.
Fortunately, the Phillies have quite a few options -- not all of them appealing -- if Roy has to be on the shelf for too long.
Vance Worley: The obvious and most likely choice is to take Doc's place in the rotation is the guy who is already on the team. The right hander, who is currently nursing an arm injury of his own, could return from the DL before the end of the week.. And assuming that he can pitch through his elbow pain without losing too much effectiveness, he'll give the Phillies ample opportunities to win. Of course, should the bone chips in his throwing elbow prove to be too much of a problem, the Phils could be right back where they started.
Scott Elarton: The veteran righty impressed in spring training, and is currently holding his own at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he has a 3.44 ERA in 52 innings of work. While he should prove to be useful enough in a pinch, there is a problem: he hasn't pitching in the big leagues since 2008, and his minor league numbers, while solid enough, don't really warrant too much excitement. His ERA is nice, but his peripheral stats -- namely K/9 (5.0) and BB/9 (3.4) are not terribly conducive to success in the big leagues.
Dave Bush: And speaking of veteran pitchers in the minor leagues, Bush is having slightly more success than Elarton. The 32-year-old righty is sporting a 2.73 ERA in nine starts, and is doing a better job of striking guys out, but not by much. And unlike Elarton, Bush played last season, but not well. In 37 innings with the Texas Rangers, he had an ERA just under 6.00.
Roy Oswalt: Little Roy is likely going to be pitching for a big league team this season, and as of a few weeks ago, he hoped to be back on the mound sometime in June. The Phillies are a logical fit, due to his familiarity with the team and their need for a starter, but odds are he will opt for a team with greater odds of success, like the Texas Rangers or St. Louis Cardinals. He'd for sure give the Phillies a Pedro-Martinez-circa-2009-esque boost, but the odds of him returning are slim.
Tyler Cloyd: Of the guys on the IronPigs roster, Cloyd might be the most well suited for a spot on the big club, despite not having any Major League experience. In 37 innings at AAA, he has a 2.15 ERA, and is striking out nearly seven hitters per nine innings. Over the course of his minor league career he's always had good control. He isn't an overpowering pitcher and he's a shot in the dark, at best, but, hey, it worked for Kyle Kendrick in 2007.
Roy Halladay: The best case scenario is that Doc can return to form without having to miss too much time. Whether or not that is a possibility is still up in the air, as right shoulder soreness -- however mild -- is never a good thing for a pitcher with as many miles on him as Roy. But if the Phillies had their way, they'll get their ace back before too long.