Velasquez proves speed isn't everything

March 12th, 2016

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Vincent Velasquez threw a pitch during Saturday's 8-5 win over the Blue Jays that registered at 104 miles an hour on the Bright House Field scoreboard.

Now, Velasquez throws hard. But not that hard. And besides, as manager Pete Mackanin frequently mentions when talking about the big right-hander the Phillies acquired from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade, velocity isn't everything.

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"Once again, you need more than a good fastball to win as a starting pitcher, and once again he showed enough with the breaking stuff," Mackanin said after the 23-year-old pitched gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in four innings.

"He's got a good two-seam fastball that he can throw for a strike when he gets behind in the count. That pitch is really important. I just like the way he attacks."

After giving up two runs in the second while mostly throwing fastballs, he began mixing in his breaking stuff in the third and retired Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki in order in the third.

"My fastballs were all over the place. I have to do something else other than throw fastballs, fastballs, fastballs," Velsaquez said. "So then I kind of mixed it up a little bit. I was ahead of myself the first few innings and calmed myself down after those two runs."

From all appearances, Velasquez is competing with left-handers Brett Oberholtzer and Adam Morgan, the latter of whom will face the Yankees on Sunday in Tampa, Fla., for the final spot in the rotation.

"I'm not trying to think about it," he said. "I'm not out there thinking about how I have a chance to win [a job]. I just want to pitch. I couldn't think about anything else but who I'm going up against. The Blue Jays, that's a tough lineup."