Phillies Rotation

Phillies will start Turnbull again in Anaheim, then what?

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SAN DIEGO — Whether it's because they haven't made a definitive decision yet or are just choosing to wait until it's absolutely necessary to spell it out, the Phillies have been coy with how they'll use Spencer Turnbull beyond their next series.

Turnbull will make another start Tuesday in Anaheim. The Phillies will use a six-man rotation this week.

Monday at Angels: Cristopher Sanchez

Tuesday at Angels: Spencer Turnbull

Wednesday at Angels: Zack Wheeler

Thursday: Off

Friday vs. Giants: Aaron Nola

Saturday vs. Giants: Ranger Suarez

Sunday vs. Giants: Taijuan Walker

Starting Turnbull again gives Wheeler an extra day of rest and Nola and Suarez two extra days. The Phils haven't outlined what will happen to Turnbull after the Tuesday start. Manager Rob Thomson said over the weekend that utilizing a six-man rotation after Wednesday would not be ideal because the Phillies are off consecutive Thursdays, May 2 and May 9. It would give their starters too much rest, Thomson said.

The Phillies do play 19 games in 20 days after that second Thursday off, so even if Turnbull is shifted to the bullpen after Tuesday, he could potentially start a couple of times from May 10-29.

Turnbull has never been a long man and said back in spring training that he wasn't sure yet how to remain stretched out in that role. Thomson said this weekend that it's indeed a concern.

Turnbull has pitched so well, however, that sending him to Triple A to continue starting would look strange at this point. Especially since the Phillies still need a long reliever after designating Ricardo Pinto for assignment Sunday to activate Walker.

An ideal scenario for them would seem to be Turnbull shifting to the bullpen but still getting the opportunity to pitch three or four innings once a week so that he can take down at least five when called upon next.

Make no mistake, this is a good problem for the Phillies to have. When they signed Turnbull to a one-year, $2 million contract, they'd have loved to know they'd be in a position two months later where his overperformance had created a difficult decision.

In the 12 games before Sunday, Phillies starting pitchers had a 1.21 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. That included one run over 12 innings from Turnbull, who has a 1.33 ERA and .137 opponents' batting average.

"My job, it's as easy right now as it's ever been with our pitching staff," J.T. Realmuto said Sunday. "These guys are so good, they're so much fun to work with. Just getting to manipulate lineups and do different things to hitters. We're facing some really good hitters and making them look silly more often than most teams would be able to. It's a ton of fun."

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