Vance Worley has been quite the find for the Phillies, strengthening an All-Star starting pitching staff. The rookie has posted an 8-1 record to go along with a 2.35 ERA in 15 games. Worley's success has given opposing teams even more to worry about when it comes to the Philadelphia staff that is fronted by veterans Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Worley recently answered questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
08/11/2011 4:41 PM ET
Worley happy to be in rotation
Rookie is part of one of the top staffs in the Majors
By Jeff Moeller / MLBPLAYERS.com
MLBPLAYERS.com: What has it been like being on the mound alongside these great starters?
Vance Worley: I think the biggest thing is just to be able to be around them. I can really watch how they go about their business. When they are out there pitching, I really take everything in by seeing their pitch sequences and how they go after hitters. I learn by seeing, by watching compared to someone telling me.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How has your role on this club evolved this season?
Worley: After we picked up Cliff Lee in the offseason, I didn't think I even had a shot at making this starting rotation this year. I figured I would need to make the team out of the bullpen and, again, we brought in a lot of guys for those roles as well. I figured I was going to Triple-A to start the year. I knew I would go down there and grind it out and wait for a call.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What happened when you got that call?
Worley: Within a month, I got the call, and I tried to make the most of the starts I got. Then, I went to the bullpen for a little bit and then they said they wanted me to start. It has been down, back up, then down, then up. It can be a roller coaster, but all you can do is go out and pitch.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Have you pitched out of the bullpen before?
Worley: I did it last year and I did it when I played in the Cape League for summer ball. But I have always been a starter.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When you saw the team strengthen itself with the addition of Lee, what was your mindset?
Worley: I knew that it was going to take time. Younger guys always have to go up and down. Nobody has an easy, straight shot to the big leagues.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What have been your keys to success this year?
Worley: I am just going out and pitching. I am really not trying to do too much. I am not trying to overpower anybody. If I need to throw the ball harder, I will throw the ball harder. I am just trying to locate and make pitches.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How have batters made adjustments against you?
Worley: They are moving around in the box, going either forward or back, or closer to the plate. They are trying to beat me on the pitch, but maybe I can see that and I can beat them with a different pitch. The next time I see them, I need to be able to recognize it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What has been your personal highlight so far this season?
Worley: I would say the complete game against the Giants. That meant a lot to me and to the team after last season. It got us going in the series. With me being from nearby Sacramento and a lot of buddies of mine really into it as Giants fans, I was able to send a lot of text messages that night, and it felt really good.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is the biggest difference between a hitter at this level compared to the Triple-A?
Worley: The hitters are more patient here. Down there, I can get away with more because they want to see what my pitches are. Down there, they see once pitch and figure that same pitch is coming, so they are hacking. Here, they take more. They aren't afraid to get behind in the count. Also, every hitter is so good at this level.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Describe the atmosphere at home games when you are on the mound.
Worley: The adrenaline rush you get is the big thing. When you get two strikes on a guy, everybody is on their feet and screaming. You can feel it in your chest. Just being around the playoff atmosphere last year was incredible. You have to be there to really understand it.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.