The Phillies have shuffled their starting pitching rotation for this weekend’s two-game set against the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park.
The skinny: Aaron Nola, who was not initially scheduled to start in the series, will now do so. Spencer Howard will move back a couple of days and start Monday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Vince Velasquez will move up a day and pitch Saturday afternoon.
Manager Joe Girardi said the change was based on having pitchers work closer to their regular five-day rotation after parlaying some off days in the schedule and some changes in the pitching order to get Nola and Zach Eflin extra rest over the last week.
“I really didn’t want Vinny to go on seven days and I thought I’d get Nola back on his normal rest and see if it sharpens him up, so I decided to do that,” Girardi said.
Save for his impressive shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals on April 18, Nola has often struggled with command of his pitches this season. He’s run high pitch counts and failed to get through the middle innings. He made mistakes with his fastball over the plate while pitching with two extra days of rest against Atlanta on Tuesday. He allowed a pair of doubles and a pair of homers in that 9-5 loss and appeared dejected afterward.
“Another tough outing for me,” he said. “Tough game.”
By moving to Sunday,…