Can Happ Take Advantage of Starting Nod?

J.A. Happ got the nod to start Wednesday night in Atlanta over a struggling Kyle Kendrick. The move gives the left-hander a shot at proving himself and possibly even setting himself up for a full-time job next season.

J.A. Happ probably shouldn't have been taken out of the rotation last July when Brett Myers returned from his rediscovery effort in the minors. At the time, Happ had made two starts and had posted a 3.27 ERA while filling in for Myers. Instead, the Phillies optioned him back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and kept a struggling Adam Eaton in the rotation. With the arrival of Joe Blanton, Eaton was eventually dumped, but Happ remained at Triple-A until a short stint with the Phillies in early August when he made one relief appearance before again being optioned out and having to wait until the rosters expanded and he took a seat in the Phillies bullpen.

Now, with Kyle Kendrick struggling on the mound, Happ is back in the spotlight and will make his third start of the season against the Braves Wednesday night. It's not out of the question that he could get another start yet this season, which would likely come on Monday when the Phillies and Braves square off again at Citizens Bank Park.

It's likely that the bullpen - and possibly Kendrick - will need to stay ready for Happ's start, since he hasn't started a game since August 26th as a member of the IronPigs. Since then, he's thrown just 4.1 innings, all coming in relief with the Phillies. If the Phillies can get five, or possibly, six innings out of him, they will likely be happy with the outing and look to turn the game over to the bullpen.

Happ and the Phillies won't have an easy go of it Wednesday night as they face Braves rookie Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62). While he struggled in August, Jurrjens seems to have righted himself in his last two starts during which he has a 4.09 ERA. In two starts against the Phillies, Jurrjens is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA.

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