Phils to end season without using lefty starter

Mackanin prefers using Morgan, other southpaws out of bullpen

September 16th, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies will end this season without having used a single left-handed starter. The last time that happened was 1918.

Now, like any manager, Pete Mackanin would like to have at least one southpaw in his rotation. He just doesn't want it to be .

The idea of starting the 27-year-old is logical. Morgan was the team's third-round Draft choice out of the University of Alabama in 2011. Until undergoing serious shoulder surgery, he had always been a starter and was considered one of the organization's top prospects. And now he appears to be fully recovered. In his last 15 appearances out of the bullpen going into Saturday, Morgan had an 0.86 ERA in 21 innings.

But while acknowledging that he hasn't discussed the issue with general manager Matt Klentak, Mackanin said his personal preference would be to have Morgan continue to do just what he's been doing.

"You know, if you find one piece to the puzzle with a guy like Morgan, in his role, I don't want to mess with him," the manager said. "I'm just happy with what I'm looking at with him. That's one piece to the puzzle that fits.

"He's so versatile. He can get righties and lefties out. He can be a situational guy. He can give you length. He's got increased velocity. There might be some discussion about making him a starter again, but I just feel that he's got increased velocity because he's not starting. That makes a difference. So we'll see, but I like him where he's at."

The Phillies have three other left-handers -- , , -- on the active roster, but Mackanin indicated he views them as relievers as well.

So if the Phillies are going to have a lefty in their rotation next season, they may have to acquire one this winter. Unless an arm emerges from the farm system. Brandon Leibrandt was 11-5 with a 3.62 ERA between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. had a 1.47 ERA but made just seven starts between the Gulf Coast (Rookie) League Phillies and Reading.

Mackanin agreed that in a perfect world, going all-righty again next season wouldn't be ideal.

"I'd like to have at least one left-handed starter," he said. "It helps the bullpen out. It's always good to have that kind of combination, with lefties and righties. But based on what we had available [coming into this season], that's why I said it wasn't an issue. Because I'm not going to start somebody just because he's left-handed if we have somebody who's better."