Vinny Struggles, Moniak Impresses, Howard Starts Today
Spencer Howard will start for the Phillies today in Clearwater against the New York Yankees. He and Chase Anderson are switching roles from last week, where Anderson started and Howard came on in relief.
Yesterday, the Phillies did the same with Vinny Velasquez and Matt Moore. As we all ponder the very popular question “Is This Vincent Velasquez’s Year?”, yesterday we found out it is in fact, not his year. Velasquez did not make it out of the second inning in Tuesday’s game. He allowed a hit, two runs, and walked two. Vinny struck out three, but it was far from a good outing for someone looking for a spot on Opening Day. He threw 20 balls and 19 strikes, for a total of 39 pitches.
The Phillies lost 4-1 and Alec Bohm, had the only hit for the Phillies’ starters. Phillies’ batters struck out 13 times. Mickey Moniak continued his red hot start in Clearwater, with a hard-hit triple in the eighth innings. Moniak is 5-for-9 with a double, a triple, two home runs and a 2.111 OPS in eight games this Spring. Although many consider him a long shot for the Opening Day roster, he is definitely earning a closer look for a job in center field.
Today will be an extremely important game for Spencer Howard. The Phillies’ 24-year old top pitching prospect is looking for a pitching spot on the Opening Day roster instead of heading down to Triple-A to at the very least, start the season. Howard and the Phillies have been able to extend his timetable for the majors by adding depth pieces such as Matt Moore and Chase Anderson. The Phillies will need to decide if Howard is better off starting in Triple-A or coming out of the bullpen for the Phillies on April 1st.
As a rookie last year, Howard didn’t impress but it’s pretty hard to judge anyone on 2020 alone. Yes, his fastball velocity wasn’t quite there and Spencer battled shoulder issues. Not to mention, he had little-to-no preparation for the season. Howard entered camp this year much more confident and prepared to make his case in for a pitching spot in the rotation and/or bullpen.
The Phillies play the Tigers at 1:07 pm. Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, Bryce Harper, and Didi Gregorius will all be in the lineup for the Phillies, with Spencer Howard on the mound.