After 2011, Phillies fans were forced to face a harsh reality: Not every pitcher is an ace. Some teams don't even have one No. 1 starter, let alone four. Somehow, the last place 2015 Phillies still managed to have an ace for most of the season. But that meant there were four other rotation spots that had to be filled... somehow. Fortunately, they were able to find several human-shaped meat chunks to push through the season's endless innings.
Moving along, Billingsley was out to prove something in 2015: That he was more than a measuring stick for bandwagon Dodger fans (RIP). He was 31, he missed 2014 entirely thanks to Tommy John and limitless elbow issues, and made only two starts in the big leagues since 2012. In short, he was exactly the type of pitcher the Phillies wanted to give $1.5 million in 2015 for a year of service.
One thing Billingsley proved this season was that he is capable of producing statistics into easily organized sections. He made seven starts for the Phillies, three in May and four in July. He only ever pitched exactly 5.0 innings (five times) or exactly 6.0 innings (twice), never more, never less. He crossed the 90-pitch threshold in a game only once, on July 2 against the Brewers. His 5.84 ERA was not good.
Billingsley was not one to get outs by himself, striking out only 15 through all of his starts and walking eight. In his final start of the year on July 18, he beat the Marlins 3-1, in what was called "his best outing in nearly three years." However, he was feeling discomfort in his elbow and left the game, never to appear again. Fortunately for the Phillies, Jerome Williams was waiting to escape his own DL stint and was ready to take Billingsley's place.
I put Correia on the main art of this post so could see what he looks like. Look at that; he has a face he uses to exhale his deep, heaving sighs and a hand he uses to adjust his crotch, the two principal movements of any Phillies player on the 2015 roster.
Let us take a moment to remember the Very Best of Kevin Correia's Phillies Tenure, via a Google search.
And, truth be told, that's exactly what the Phillies wanted; a low-energy, quietly humming machine they could wheel out to the mound every fifth day and keep them from going to the bullpen too early. Plus, he can throw a curveball! At least, he used to. So, the $650,000 deal 34-year-old Correia got from the Phillies made sense, even with the $400,000 in incentives it included and the .301/.345/.473 numbers put up by batters facing him in 2014.
But after five starts and 23.1 IP, as well as 14 SO and 8 BB, Correia and his not-quite-90 m.p.h. fastball were bumped off the roster in favor of...
The 2013 Paul Owens Award winner got his first shot at big league hitters in late April, facing the best team modern baseball has to offer. Get this: it went really badly.
Gonzalez threw 60 pitches, struck out no one, allowed seven earned runs, and left the game before the end of the third inning, forcing the Phillies to coax Dustin McGowan out of the plastic rain barrel they keep him in to come out and throw as many innings as his tired body could stand (it was 1.1 that day). But Gonzalez perservered, or the Phillies didn't have anyone they felt like having replace him, so let him keep making starts into May, and to his credit, he brought that initial 23.00+ ERA down to an undesirable 6.88.
Still, though; he never lasted six innings at any point through the whole season, making only three more starts after the month of May and getting the ball for the final time on July 9, after Correia was taken off the roster to make room for him. Gonzalez was tagged for 27 ER in just 30.2 IP for the year, featuring a 4.00 SO/W ratio, and leaving fans to wonder about him as the offseason began.
I will be completely honest, I am very surprised Severino Gonzalez is still on the 40 man roster— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) October 19, 2015