Vance Worley will start tonight. But why?

Vance Worley has been pitching all season with bone chips in his right elbow. (Brynn Anderson/AP)

It's been three weeks since Kyle Kendrick took the mound against the Atlanta Braves and got knocked around, igniting the most recent starting rotation controversy. 

Fans called for Kendrick, who had been in the midst of a strong run as a reliever, to move back to the bullpen and for the Phils to replace him in the rotation with Triple A starter Tyler Cloyd.

We know what's happened since: Kendrick has allowed two earned runs in his last three starts, winning three straight games in the process.

While Kendrick has validated the Phillies brass's decision to stick with him in the rotation, it's fair to question why the other young righthander in the rotation continues to make his regular turn.

Vance Worley will have surgery to remove loose bodies right his right elbow after the season.

The Phils could shut him down early, get the procedure done and have him ready for spring training. But since Cole Hamels underwent a similar procedure last fall and was clearly ready for spring training, that kind of shoots down that angle.

But then there's this: Worley hasn't pitched particularly well in two months.

Beginning with han 11-1 loss on July 3 to the Mets, the team he'll face tonight, Worley has gone 2-5 with a 5.60 ERA in his last 10 starts. Opponents are hitting .341 against him in that span and reaching base at a .407 clip.

In his last four starts, Worley has allowd 30 hits while striking out 12 and walking 10 in 19 2/3 innings. Translation: he hasn't been getting much better since sporting a 6.43 ERA in five starts in July.

Worley will almost certainly have a place in the 2013 Phillies rotation. So it probably doesn't do anyone any good to "demote" him from the rotation and ship him to the pen.

But you could go with the whole "shutting him down" excuse since he is dealing with the elbow ailment. And why not get a look at Tyler Cloyd with the minor league season ending in six days?

On Tuesday, Cloyd took home the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher Award. The 25-year-old is 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA; he leads the league in ERA and WHIP and is tied for the overall minor league lead with 15 wins. (He went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA at Double A Reading earlier in the season).