In the competition for the fifth and final spot in the Phillies starting rotation, J.A Happ has risen above the rest.
Rich Dubee ought to end the competition now and announce Happ as the fifth starter in their rotation.
Happ has earned the spot. His impressive spring numbers include posting a 2.45 ERA with nine strikeouts in 11 innings.
The other pitchers competing against Happ for the final spot are Chan Ho Park, Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco. Kendrick and Carrasco have been brutal this spring giving up a combined 19 runs in 12.2 innings.
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The only pitcher who should be left in the conversation is Park. He has only given up two runs in seven innings and has a nice 2.57 ERA.
Although his numbers are good, Park has been a more successful pitcher in the bullpen over the years and would probably help the Phillies out better in that role. He pitched 49 of his 54 games with the Dodgers out of the bullpen last season and posted a 3.84 ERA in relief.
Happ pitched well for the Phils last season when given the opportunity to start. He started four games and posted an impressive 2.28 ERA.
Happ's problems arised when he came out of the bullpen. He best suits the Phillies as a starting pitcher.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the Phillies do not like Happ all that much. While he has taken full advantage of his opportunities as a starter, the Phils always send him back to the minors.
What could they possibly have against Happ? He has the ability to become a decent number two or three pitcher in this rotation for years to come, but if the Phillies keep screwing around with his head and sending him back and forth to the minors, it could scar him.
The time for Happ to pitch is now. Let's give this guy a fair chance to prove he can be a solid pitcher in this league.
Will Happ become a happy Phillie in the days to come or will the Phillies deem him hapless? The answer may come sooner rather than later.