Something had to give, which is why the Phillies cut loose two starting pitchers in less than 12 hours.
They outrighted right-hander Sean O'Sullivan following Monday's 10-7 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles. O'Sullivan was 1-6 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts, failing to pitch six innings in eight starts, and posting an 11.05 ERA in his last three. Then on Tuesday morning, they announced right-hander Kevin Correia had been designated for assignment. Correia went 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in five starts, failing to pitch six innings in any start.
Rookie right-hander Severino Gonzalez (3-2, 8.28 ERA) will take Correia's spot in the rotation Thursday night against the Dodgers.
The Phillies have not named Saturday's starter, although Triple-A right-hander David Buchanan is on the roster, and he is a good bet to start Saturday. Right-hander Hector Neris has been recalled to take O'Sullivan's spot on the roster. He will pitch out of the bullpen until Saturday.
The Phillies cleared two spots on the 40-man roster with their recent moves. It could be nothing more than a byproduct of cleaning house, or it could be that the Phils are looking to add a player or two via promotion or trade. Triple-A right-hander David Buchanan is on the 40-man roster, and he is a good bet to start Saturday.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Sunday that Triple-A right-hander Aaron Nola, who is the organization's top pitching prospect, is "close" to a big league promotion. Nola is not on the 40-man roster. But Amaro said they would not promote him "just because our rotation is very poor right now. We're going to bring him when it's time for him developmentally."
Phillies starters have pitched six innings in just 15 of the last 20 games, which has put a tremendous strain on the bullpen.
"Very often what is happening is the pitcher gets into the fifth and I don't really want to send the guy back out in the sixth because he hasn't looked sharp, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we can so that I don't abuse the bullpen," said interm manager Pete Mackanin on Monday. "We just can't afford to use the bullpen. We've got to get more length."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.