Cole Irvin’s next four games could cement him in Phillies’ Starting Rotation

USATSI_12726433_168382939_lowres

Two starts, two wins. Not a bad way to kick start your major league career. After a brief rain delay, rookie southpaw Cole Irvin went on to do just that against the Colorado Rockies.

Although Irvin wasn’t as masterful as he was in his seven-inning Mother’s Day debut versus the Royals, he was still very serviceable in his second career start. Against a very formidable Nolan Arenado-led Rockies offense that ranks in the Top 15 in both runs scored and slugging percentage, Irvin faired decently in his first home start at Citizens Bank Park.

After being ailed by some early-inning defensive woes and giving up a couple of scores, the novice lefty settled in nicely over the next few innings. He continued to pound the strike zone and did an excellent job of managing his pitch count. Of the 25 batters Irvin faced last night, ten were retired on three pitches or less. The impressive total would have jumped to 13 batters sat down on three or fewer pitches if it weren’t for three(!) errors in the second inning. Irvin works with a tremendous pace and has the makings of a true innings-eater with the way he effortlessly neutralizes opposing lineups.

Fortunately for the undefeated rookie pitcher, he may be in line for a few more wins due to a favorable upcoming schedule. Barring injuries, roster transactions, and/or rainouts, Irvin is slated to square off against the Cubs, Cardinals, Padres, and Reds over his next four starts. While the Cubs and Cardinals both boast high-powered offenses they, similarly to the Padres and Reds, struggle against left-handed pitching. Here’s a look at how the teams fare against lefties this season:

Opponents BA OBP SLG
Cubs .227 .324 .428
Cardinals .242 .338 .392
Padres .219 .288 .437
Reds .246 .322 .422

As the stats reflect, none of Irvin’s next four opponents have performed particularly well- with the Cubs and Padres struggling mightily- against lefties. If the young Phillies starter can continue to limit baserunners (only ten total hits surrendered over his two starts) and maintain his efficient pitching pace, he may be due for quite a stretch of success to begin his MLB career.

Following a nearly four year drought in which the Phillies failed to have a lefty mainstay in the starting rotation, the 25-year old Irvin may wind up being just the man for the job. Of course, he’ll need to build upon his impressive start to do so, but a kind schedule may give him the boost he needs to earn a permanent role in Philly.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites