Phillies' Worley makes case to be 5th starter

Vance Worley gets through a one-run first inning. "He was fine," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Vance Worley gets through a one-run first inning. "He was fine," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Posted: September 07, 2010

Charlie Manuel says Vance Worley gave the Phillies exactly what they needed in the first game of Monday's doubleheader.

The Phillies' manager would not say if he would ask Worley to give them more when the team faces the New York Mets on Saturday at Citi Field.

Worley, thrust into his first major-league start in his second big-league game because of the doubleheader, allowed two runs on six hits in five innings during the Phillies' 7-1 Game 1 loss to the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He struck out five batters and walked one.

He was good enough to earn some mild praise from Manuel, but not so good that it's a no-brainer he'll replace struggling righthander Kyle Kendrick in the rotation.

"He was good," Manuel said. "It looked like his fastball, especially up, had a little life on it, because he got in on some righthanded hitters. I felt like he threw five innings and he did a good job. He kept us right where we wanted to go. For his first start in the big leagues, he was fine."

Asked after the game if Worley could replace Kendrick in the rotation, Manuel said: "We have another game to play today, so I ain't even thinking about that."

A decision will likely be made in the middle of the week because the Phillies will need a fifth starter Saturday. Because no more Thursday games are scheduled, the Phillies could need a fifth starter only three more times.

Kendrick is 2-4 with a 7.04 ERA in his last six starts. He irritated Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee in the first inning Sunday when he left a pitch over the plate that Milwaukee's Prince Fielder turned on for a long three-run homer.

After going 10-7 with a 3.36 ERA in 27 starts at double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Worley allowed single runs in the first and second innings of his first major-league start.

He walked the Marlins' Logan Morrison with one out in the first and allowed the runner to move to second on a wild pitch, which led to a run when Dan Uggla singled with two outs.

An inning later, Chad Tracy launched a 2-1 pitch into the right-field seats.

After escaping first-and-second, one-out jams in the third and fourth innings, Worley retired the side in order in the fifth before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.

"There were a couple rough innings where I gave up those runs," Worley said. "I was just looking to go out there and give the team the best chance I could to win."

Worley had thrown only 76 pitches through five innings, but when Wilson Valdez walked with two outs, Manuel sent Domonic Brown to the plate as a pinch-hitter.

"I wanted to go back out there for another inning or two," Worley said. "I don't think my pitch count was that high, but there was an opportunity to get a runner in, and I had to come out."

Kendrick's advantage could be that he has pitched well against the Mets, going 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in seven career starts.

Worley, however, at least gave Manuel and Dubee something to think about.

"That is definitely a good start," Worley said. "As long as I'm in the back of [Manuel's] mind, hopefully I'll get another opportunity."


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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