The more Vance Worley pitches, the more difficult he makes it for Charlie Manuel to decide on a fourth starter for the Phillies postseason run.
On Tuesday, Worley survived the wet weather to throw six innings, allowing two runs in a 6-3 win over Atlanta. Oswalt is set to throw tonight against the Braves (though the weather may again impact the game). And his start could mean more than just another game against a division rival.
Who should be the fourth starter in the postseason? Let’s break it down:
For Worley: Worley is now 11-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 110.1 innings, and the Phillies have won each of his last 14 starts (going 7-0 at home and 7-0 on the road). If not for Craig Kimbrel in Atlanta, he’d be near the top of Rookie of the Year conversations in the National League.
Against Worley: Worley is a rookie, and will likely be utilized often during the Phillies’ 33 games in 31 day stretch through September. Most rookies begin to wear down when they hit the 180-inning mark. Worley threw 50.2 innings at Lehigh Valley and already has thrown 110.1 innings in the big leagues, totaling 161 innings already. Worley also has experience pitching out the bullpen already, having done it last season and earlier in 2011 for the Phillies.
For Oswalt: He is 5-1 all-time in the postseason with a 3.39 ERA in 12 games (2-1 last year for the Phillies). He no doubt has the experience and the mental makeup for the postseason. Because of injuries, he may be the team’s freshest pitcher coming into the playoffs (having only thrown 104.1 innings to this point)
Against Oswalt: He has battled a back problem much of the season and has yet to show any sort of sustained consistency, going 7-8 with a 3.80 ERA. His fastball, which has often won him games in the past, is topping out at around 91 mph in 2011. And while his curve remains outstanding with its 12-6 movement, it may not be enough to win him games on its own.
You decide: who should be the Phillies’ fourth postseason starter in 2011? And what do you want to see from the two contenders down the stretch?