For all this talk about a fifth starter, there may not even be one announced until mid April.
David Murphy brings up a solid point in his latest blog post: The Phillies can work with a four-man rotation (even with Cole Hamels returning April 10) until April 15 in Washington.
Here is Murphy’s designed predicted rotation:
March 26: Carlos Carrasco.
March 27: Brett Myers
March 28: Jamie Moyer and J.A. Happ
March 29: Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels
March 30: Chan Ho Park
March 31: Myers
April 1: Carrasco
April 2: Jamie Moyer*
April 3: Joe Blanton*
April 4: Cole Hamels*
April 5 (Braves): Myers*
April 7 (Braves): Moyer*
April 8 (Braves): Blanton*
April 10 (Rockies): Hamels*
April 11 (Rockies): Myers*
April 12 (Rockies): Moyer*
April 13 (Nationals): Blanton*
April 15 (Nationals): Happ/Park*
That means Happ can start the season in triple-A, starting the IronPigs season opener April 9. That would make the Philadelphia pitching staff look like this: Hamels/Myers/Moyer/Blanton/Lidge/Madson/Durbin/Eyre/Condrey/Park. That makes 10 pitchers. The 11th?
Murphy thinks the right-handed veteran will make the team soon enough, and I agree – he’s pitched well enough to make it (3.27 ERA this spring). Once April 15 comes, Happ moves up and a hitter moves to Lehigh Valley (or either Matt Stairs or Geoff Jenkins is traded by then).
The moral of the story? Nothing will be completely determined yet.