Stanford makes possibly his last start for the AL Central-leading Indians when they continue a three-game interleague series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
The left-hander lasted six innings on Thursday in his first appearance in the majors since elbow surgery in 2004, allowing one run and six hits while striking out seven in a 3-2 win over the Florida Marlins. Stanford (1-0, 1.50 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Buffalo before the game to fill in for the demoted Jeremy Sowers.
“All the rehab and everything that I’ve gone through, tonight was just the icing on top of that cake,” he said. “I can’t explain in words what I’m feeling.”
Although manager Eric Wedge was noncommittal at the time about keeping Stanford in the rotation, the pitcher’s performance earned him another start on Tuesday. Regardless of how he does in this game, however, it likely won’t be enough to retain a spot in the Indians’ starting rotation.
The injured Jake Westbrook is expected to return soon after making what was likely his final rehab start on Monday. Because Stanford is out of minor league options, he would have be put on waivers if he was sent back down, and he’d likely be picked up by another team.
Cleveland (41-28) is considering moving Stanford to the bullpen, although a reliever would have to be sent down to make room for him.
“We’ll leave all our options open,” Wedge told the Indians’ official Web site. “We won’t pigeonhole ourselves.”
Stanford, who has not faced Philadelphia (36-34) in three seasons with the Indians, follows up an outstanding outing by Cliff Lee on Monday in Cleveland’s 10-1 win over the Phillies.
Lee pitched seven innings and allowed one run and five hits while he received plenty of offensive support from his teammates. Kelly Shoppach hit a three-run homer and a double, while Grady Sizemore, Jason Michaels and Josh Barfield also each had two hits. Barfield drove in three runs.
Reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard hit his 15th homer, but the Phillies couldn’t overcome the early hole Cole Hamels put them in. Hamels allowed five runs in the first two innings and was pulled after five, having allowed six runs and eight hits.
Philadelphia, which has lost three out of four games, stranded 10 runners and was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“We had some chances to score, but we couldn’t get the hit to get us a couple of runs,” said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, who made his return to Cleveland for the first time since being fired as Indians manager in 2002. “We hit some balls hard, but their outfielders made some good plays. Give them credit.”
Rookie Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 4.50) makes his second career start for Philadelphia.
The 22-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in six innings against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in an 8-4 win in his major league debut. Kendrick, who was starting in place of the injured Freddy Garcia, struck out four and walked two in his first outing above Double-A.
“I was a little nervous,” Kendrick said. “I was trying to do my job and help the team win. You can’t be in awe.”