Philadelphia Phillies' J.A. Happ to Remain in Starting Rotation

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Philadelphia Phillies' J.A. Happ to Remain in Starting Rotation
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

After dropping five-of-six, the Philadelphia Phillies' division lead had dwindled down to a minuscule five games.

Phillies enthusiasts began to question the integrity and legitimacy of the team's 21-7 record in July. The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, declared a protest of the city's baseball team if they were to lose a fourth consecutive game.

Alright, so maybe it's possible that there wasn't this much panic in the City of Brotherly Love. But you get the point.

Fans want to see their team win, and letting your division opponents gain a game or two on you is never fun to watch. No matter how large your lead is.

When J.A. Happ took to the mound Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies, he was looking to earn his eight win on the season. The rookie of the year candidate did just that.

After two consecutive losses, Happ threw a complete game shutout to further implement his chances of winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award. He allowed just four hits while striking out 10 batters.

The 26-year-old was rumored to be on his way to the bullpen with the arrival of Pedro Martinez. After his stellar performance, Ruben Amaro Jr, the Phillies' General Manager, ended the speculation and proceeded to announce that Happ would remain a starter.

While it isn't exactly his decision, Amaro only shared what the majority of us previously believed.

As of now, it appears manager Charlie Manuel will be forced to move into a six-man rotation. Martinez and Jamie Moyer would battle for the fifth spot.

The lone restriction from moving either Martinez or Moyer to the bullpen is that, well, they aren't relievers.

The 46-year-old Moyer cannot be counted on to pitch every other day, and Martinez hasn't pitched from the bullpen since his second season in the majors.

Martinez is expected to be given his chance, which may leave the inconsistent Moyer as the odd man out for a week or so.

This predicament, although one most teams wouldn't mind having, leaves the Phillies in a tough spot.

The root of the issue stems from the acquisition of Cliff Lee. Then again, having one-too-many starters is never an issue.

Before the signing of Martinez and the trade for Lee, the Phillies had too few quality starters. Now, they have more than enough.

All of this will become a thing of the past come October, when the reigning World Champions will look to retain their title as the best in baseball.

Five or even six starters are not necessary for the postseason. Most teams will choose to go with a four-man rotation, as opposed to having a full five-man rotation.

Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, and Jamie Moyer were the four chosen to lead the Phillies last postseason. At the moment, it appears Lee, Hamels, Blanton, and Happ are the presumed playoff rotation for the Phillies in 2009.

As long as the four remain healthy, there should be absolutely no controversy over the postseason rotation.

But for now, the Phillies will settle for six starting pitchers.

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