Manager Charlie Manuel hopes the struggling right-hander can straighten things out in the starting rotation.
I’m in favor of one more go for Padilla, which is shaping up to be a possible career-changing game. There have been rumors stemming from last season Padilla would be a great weapon out of the bullpen. But with the season-ending injury to Randy Wolf, his place in the rotation is secure at least until Saturday, when he’s scheduled to pitch against San Diego.
The concept of Padilla the reliever is worth dissection. He can’t go long innings anymore, not lasting over six innings this season, but he’s typically terrible in the first inning, as he was Saturday. I’m uncertain how a slow starter would translate to late-inning duty, but he’s proven to be a man of short focus. My gut tells me it would work, with Padilla stepping in to limited action and trying to throw gas. Then again, there’s no telling how pouty Padilla will take it.
In spite of Saturday’s meltdown, Manuel is rightfully standing by his man.
"I'm for Padilla," Manuel said to mlb.com writer Ken Mendel Sunday. "I'm not looking to cut or punish him. I'm looking to get Padilla pitching like he showed us he can. The biggest thing is to encourage."
Mendal said Amaury Telemaco, Geoff Geary or Ryan Madson could serve as alternatives if Padilla stumbles. The best option is still Padilla. But forget about Telly and Geary. And in my opinion, forget about Madson, too.
Yanking Madson from the bullpen midseason robs the bullpen of perhaps their best weapon. It also forces the 24-year-old to drastically shift gears. If a Madson experiement fails, I fear a major tailspin.
The best alternative, should Padilla crumble even more, may be to recall Gavin Floyd, whose odds of success in the starting five are just as good as Madson’s.
Floyd is by no means pitching up to expectations this season. He’s obviously battling with the idea of failure. Update from Sporting News Ken Rosenthal: "He does not have the power curveball that he had, and he doesn't have great command of his fastball," one scout says. "Triple-A hitters are laying off the fastball, and he can't get them to chase his curve. It's more of a slurve this year. He used to have a snap-dragon type breaking ball."
Many thought the 22-year-old would be a staple in the rotation at this point this season, but he’s struggled since his brief stint earlier in the year. His Scranton numbers are an unimpressive 3-5 with a 6.68 ERA.
But one gets the feeling Floyd is wilting away on the forest-green carpet of Lackawanna County Stadium and might benefit from time with the big boys, throwing to major-league catchers Mike Lieberthal and Todd Pratt. He’d also have access to major-league pitching instruction from coach Rich Dubee to get that curveball straightened out. Another benefit, obviously, is Madson can remain in the bullpen.
If Padilla struggles yet again and Floyd works a solid game his next start, I’d consider making the switch. At the very least, Floyd, the future of Phils pitching, can gain experience, while Padilla, not the future of Phils pitching, steps aside.
Peter Gammons in his latest espn.com column: "Whomever designed that park in Philadelphia was an idiot." I was thinking the same thing watching Manny Ramirez's pop fly sail out yesterday.
Gammons also reported the Phils called the Toronto Blue Jays about a deal involving Ted Lilly for Ryan Howard but the Jays refused.