Adam Morgan is the Phillies fifth starter — for the moment at least.
He gave up six earned runs and nine hits (including two homers) in a recent 7-2 loss to the Nationals. His ERA rose to 7.07 — more than Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez combined.
The 26-year-old may have made his seventh and final start for the Phillies this season. Or maybe not.
“I left some balls up in the sixth inning,” Morgan said. “It was a bad time to make mistakes. You can’t take them back. You can’t leave balls up.”
The hurler could be feeling some pressure as the Phillies' farm system is currently teeming with talented pitchers itching to get a taste of the big leagues.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley's Zach Eflin has an eye-popping 5-1 record and 2.81 ERA (it was as low as 2.05 before he allowed six runs in his May 29 start).
At 22, he's never sniffed the big leagues and could be the next pitcher to see the inside of the Phillies big league clubhouse.
Other Lehigh Valley hurlers with a chance to see South Philly include David Buchanan and Jake Thompson, though both have ERAs in the mid-4's and have not been as impressive as Eflin.
A move at the big league club would be good news all around as well if the Phillies take that opportunity to move up Ben Lively, who is 7-0 with a 2.18 ERA in Double-A Reading.
The Fightins' have the best record in their division in the Eastern League, thanks in large part to Lively and fellow starters Anthony Vasquez (6-3, 3.02 ERA) and Nick Pivetta (4-4, 3.21 ERA).
The starting pitching is in the system. The Phillies just have to know when to pull the trigger.
“Changes are going to be made over the course of the season," Phils Manager Pete Mackanin said Wednesday. "At what time, I’m not quite sure.”
As for Morgan, the clock is ticking. If he's given the chance to start for an eighth time this season it would be Monday, June 6, against the Cubs — perhaps a recipe for disaster (the Cubs swept the Phillies in Chicago last week).
“He seems like he’s on the verge of getting through it, but then he makes mistakes, too many mistakes out over the plate in the strike zone,” Mackanin said of Morgan. “I’d like to see him pitch inside more to right-handed hitters."
The lefty won his first decision on May 10 against the Braves when he was called up to replace injured Charlie Morton in the rotation. But has lost his last four decisions in a row and stands at 1-4.
“He’s got stuff, but a lot of guys have stuff," the manager continued. "In order to be successful, you can’t make mistakes. You’ve got to keep the ball down and hit the corners and change speeds. That’s how you become a good major-league pitcher. He’s got the stuff and the instincts, but this is a results-oriented business, especially here. You have to get results here and you can’t make mistakes.”