Happ realizes start could be audition

Happ realizes start could be audition

PHILADELPHIA -- J.A. Happ knows that Friday's start could be his last in Phillies pinstripes.

After facing the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, Happ is next scheduled to pitch at Arizona on Wednesday -- two days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and one day after the Blue Jays' self-imposed deadline to trade Roy Halladay.

The Phillies are considered the front-runners to land Toronto's ace, and Happ has been mentioned in virtually every rumor.

There's a good reason: He's just 26, left-handed and, since losing his big league debut in 2007, 8-0 with a 2.94 ERA. Over his past five outings, he is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA, 24 strikeouts and five walks in 37 innings.

"I'm trying to do what I can to stay here," Happ said Monday. "I don't know if that's going to be enough, but I'll find out. I'm trying to do my part and that's all I can do."

There's an irony there, of course. The better he pitches, the more attractive he is to the Jays and other teams. He dazzled in front of their very eyes, tossing a shutout in Toronto's Rogers Centre on June 27.

"It's like a double-edged sword kind of thing, but I'm not complaining," Happ said. "I'm going to try to have success."

Happ has faced the Cardinals once in his career, tossing six scoreless innings last July before running into trouble with one out in the seventh. He was removed after allowing consecutive hits. Both runners would score after he departed, earning him a no-decision.

Pitching matchup
PHI: LHP J.A. Happ (7-0, 2.68 ERA)
Happ was outstanding for the Phillies his last time out, holding the Marlins to five hits over seven scoreless innings. The 26-year-old cruised through most of the start, though he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth, getting Ronny Paulino to pop out to short and then striking out Brett Carroll and pinch-hitter Wes Helms to get out of the inning.

STL: RHP Joel Pineiro (8-9, 3.09 ERA)
Pineiro continues to be one of the most fascinating pitchers in the game this year, having undergone a drastic makeover. He's throwing tons of strikes and keeping the ball in the park, so he's been very successful despite a low strikeout rate. It's gone on for long enough that it's starting to look very real, and his success has significantly deepened the Cardinals' rotation.

Tidbits
Right-hander Pedro Martinez threw 60 pitches in a simulated game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. It went well. The Phillies could announce as early as Friday that Martinez will have his first rehab start Sunday with Class A Clearwater. ... On Saturday, Phillies Ballgirls will be dressed in their holiday best, collecting new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Children's Crisis Treatment Center and Taller Puertorriqueno Community Center. ... The Phils have 27 wins from left-handed pitchers this season, tied for most in the Majors.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
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•  Official game notes

On television
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On radio
• WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Phillies (Rodrigo Lopez, 2-0, 2.60) vs. Cardinals (Kyle Lohse, 4-6, 4.21), 4:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 6-4, 4.24) vs. Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 7-8, 5.68), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 9-7, 5.65) at Diamondbacks (Jon Garland, 5-9, 4.41), 9:40 p.m. ET

David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.