Cole Irvin was likely ready to pitch in the majors last season when the Phillies needed help in their starting rotation. The only problem was that he wasn’t on the 40-man roster and didn’t have to be placed there after the season, so he was overlooked. Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez were both pitching well and were already on the 40-man roster, so it made business sense that they moved up while Irvin bided his time. With an injury to Vince Velasquez, Irvin’s time was this weekend.
Initially, the Phillies recalled reliever Austin Davis to take Velasquez’ roster spot, but they had to make a second move prior to Sunday’s game to add another starter. So, along with Davis, Irvin was put on a flight from Lehigh Valley to Kansas City, but the difference was that Davis was put on another flight back to Lehigh Valley following Saturday’s game. As it turned out, the additional roster move was to option Davis back to the IronPigs and add Irvin to the 25-man roster. They had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so they didn’t have to make a corresponding move there.
Irvin pitched well in his major league debut. The 25-year old pitched seven innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits and one walk. The lefty threw 93 pitches, 64 strikes and 29 balls, and struck out five batters in his debut that ended in a 6-1 Phillies win.
At Triple-A this season, Irvin was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in six starts. Last season, he was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year when he went 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA for Lehigh Valley.
Irvin figures to stick with the Phillies for at least one more start. Velasquez was rumored to be on a short leash because of his struggles in his last two starts, but it’s unclear whether the Phillies will return him to the rotation or option him out to Lehigh Valley when he’s healthy. The Phillies also have Nick Pivetta pitching well at Triple-A. Irvin got the call over Pivetta because Pivetta had just pitched on Thursday, while Irvin was set to start Sunday for Lehigh Valley.