Phillies Notebook: Phillies weighing options for second starter in Monday's doubleheader

Posted: September 03, 2010

DENVER - The Phillies face a predicament in choosing their second starter for Monday's doubleheader against the Marlins.

The recently signed Nate Robertson, a veteran with 187 big-league starts, tossed six scoreless innings for Triple A Lehigh Valley against Pawtucket Tuesday night and is in position to face his old teammates from Florida on 5 days' rest. But Robertson is a lefty, and the Marlins have fared much better against lefties than righties this season. In fact, they've won their last 10 against lefty starters.

The Phillies' top two home-grown righthanded options, former Long Beach State stars Andrew Carpenter and Vance Worley, also at Lehigh Valley, have six big-league appearances between them.

A third, veteran righthander Brandon Duckworth, has pitched in relief in two straight appearances for the IronPigs since returning from the disabled list with a calf strain.

Manager Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he and pitching coach Rich Dubee still were undecided about how to handle the doubleheader. Veteran righthander Roy Oswalt will pitch one of the two games on his normal turn, but the Phillies' other four starters will be on short rest.

"We've talked over some names," Manuel said. "We'll see."

From a scheduling standpoint, Robertson and Carpenter are the two most feasible options. Carpenter pitched against Pawtucket Wednesday night - he allowed two earned runs on seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings - putting him in position to start on Monday on normal rest. The 25-year-old righty is 8-11 with a 4.10 ERA in 26 starts. His only big-league start came last May in Washington, when he allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings but earned the win in the Phillies' 7-5, rain-shortened victory. He spent a brief stint with the Phillies earlier this season, allowing three earned runs in three innings of long relief in a loss to the Cardinals.

Worley, who struck out two Rockies in a scoreless inning earlier this season in his only big-league appearance, is on turn to pitch tomorrow.

Duckworth, a member of the Phillies' rotation from 2001-03, has logged the best numbers of the three righties, going 5-4 with a 3.47 ERA, 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.0 walks per nine. He threw 62 pitches in relief against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday, but walked four and allowed two earned runs in three innings.

Robertson started the season in the Marlins' rotation and posted a 4.05 ERA in his first 10 starts, including 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies in a 2-0 win at Citizens Bank Park on April 18. But he went 2-4 with a 7.09 ERA in his last nine outings before losing his job.

The Marlins have hit .267 with a .333 on-base percentage and .438 slugging percentage against lefthanded starters, compared with a .252/.317/.393 line against righthanded starters. They are 28-12 in games started by lefties and 39-53 in games started by righties.

Old school

Yesterday's make-up was scheduled at a perfect time for Fox Sports Midwest, which snagged a few minutes with Denver-area natives Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge to promo an upcoming football game between their former high schools.

Lidge's Cherry Creek High plays Halladay's Arvada West on Sept. 16 in a showdown between two of the region's athletic powerhouses.

In 1995, Lidge was part of a Cherry Creek baseball team that defeated Halladay and Arvada West en route to the state title. The closer donned a navy windbreaker with his alma mater's logo, while Halladay wore a white Arvada West T-shirt while filming the segment. *

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