In the minutes before this afternoon's game against the Marlins, the beats flooded Twitter with news that the Phillies had optioned David Buchanan to Lehigh Valley.
David Buchanan has been optioned to Lehigh Valley (AAA). LHP Elvis Araujo has been recalled. Araujo will join the team Sunday in Miami.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) May 2, 2015
It's no secret that Buchanan has struggled so far this year with an 8.76 ERA after 5 starts in which he's lasted more than 6 innings just once. Buchanan is a living testament to the limited predictive power of Spring Training stats as he posted a 1.29 ERA over 20.1 innings while striking out 15 against just two walks.
That control has deserted Buchanan in the early days of the 2015 regular season as he has 15 walks versus just 12 strikeouts in his 24.2 innings. After a strong spring and a relatively encouraging showing toward the end of 2014, five starts feels like a short leash on a team with a lack of pitching depth, but presumably the Phillies have identified things he can better work on at AAA. On Thursday, our very own Victor Filoromo detailed the argument for giving Buchanan some time in Lehigh Valley.
Coming up is left-handed reliever Elvis Araujo. We've complained in these pages about the overuse of Jake Diekman, which can at least partially be attributed to his status as the only left-handed reliever on the active roster. He hasn't exactly set the world on fire in his brief stint in Reading, with a 7.45 ERA over 7 appearance, but he has struck out 11 batters over his 9.2 innings. On the other hand, he has walked 6 as well. Araujo's presence, at the very least can divert some of the burden away from Diekman.
Next week we will also be treated to probably the most exciting Phillies debut of the young season as Chad Billingsley makes his first start of the season:
Chad Billingsley will start Tuesday's game in Atlanta.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) May 2, 2015
Billingsley has lost the past two seasons to elbow injuries, but before that was an effective and at times excellent starter for the Dodgers from 2006-12. The Defiance, Ohio native has been attempting to defy the history of pitchers with multiple arm injuries. (NB: Defiance, Ohio is also the name of a folk-punk band that isn't half bad) In 19 innings with Lehigh Valley this year, Billingsley has a 4.74 ERA while striking out 16 against 6 walks. He threw 99 pitches in his most recent start, so appears to be as ready for a return to major league pitching as he will ever be.
So, let's get excited for the Billingsley debut and hope Buchanan can find his control and the changeup that flummoxed hitters in Spring Training.
Lastly, this is a funny tweet. You should laugh, or at least chuckle.
It's fitting that the Phillies have an Elvis on the pitching staff now, considering how the team's all shook up— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) May 2, 2015