For years the Phillies have had the best pitching rotation in baseball. This year the Phillies will rely on their rotation more than ever as stars like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard production start to decline. The pitching rotation is completely different than last year after they lost Worley and signed Lannan. This is what the Phillies starting rotation will look like for the 2012-2013 season.
1. Cole Hamels
A couple of days ago Cole was named the team’s Opening Day starter. It will be the first time in his career where he gets that honor for the Phillies. Cole has proven he is a pitcher that the Phillies can count on every year. The 28-year old, left-handed ace was signed to a monster contract last year before he could get on the free agent market. The contract was 6 years for $144 million. It is the Phillies’ third pitcher that they have under contract averaging over 20 million a year. This contract showed Cole that Phillies believe in him as a pitcher and that he will have the responsibility of being the Phillies ace for years to come.
The statistics also show how dominant Cole has been over the years. In 7 years as a Phillie he boasts a 3.34 era and a 91-60 win loss record. One of the major strengths Cole has is his ability to strike out a lot of batters and pitch a ton of innings. Last year, Cole was 6th in innings pitched with 215 and he was 3rd in strikeouts with 216 in the NL. Cole has been incredibly consistent as a Philadelphia Phillie and I don’t expect his production to decline in any way. In fact, I think he’ll compete for the Cy Young Award and possibly win it this season.
2. Cliff Lee
The 2nd pitcher in the Phillies starting rotation this year will be Cliff Lee. I know your probably thinking: Cliff Lee is also a lefty and that Roy Halladay could easily break up the 2 lefties by putting Cliff in the 3 spot. But for me it is a no-brainer, Cliff Lee has had better production and is less prone to injuries than Roy is; it is as simple as that.
I know Cliff only had 6 wins last year but when Cliff got on the mound his offense produced nothing for him. Besides the win column, Cliff had a good season last year. He posted a 3.16 ERA and he struck out 207 batters. Cliff is getting old at 34 years of age but I believe his production will still be there and I think this year he will record over 14 wins.
3. Roy Halladay
I have Roy Halladay bouncing from the first to the third spot in the Phillies rotation for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that Roy is clearly suffering from injuries. Last year, he suffered from shoulder weakness and as a result his fastball velocity went way down from the low 90s to mid 80s. The second reason for concern is his last year was close to terrible as he had a lowly 4.49 era. Charlie Manuel described Halliday as only a “serviceable” pitcher. The last reason for concern is that Roy Halladay is not performing well in Spring Training. In Roy’s last outing, he gave up 7 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings and Rich Dubee and Charlie Manuel were both “concerned.”
Lets not forget Roy Halladay is a incredibly hard worker as he gets to practice first and he is the last to leave and he will very reluctant to let his body get the best of him. Roy is only getting older as he will turn 36 in May and the former 2-time Cy Young award winner’s high quality production is going to be gone sooner rather than later.
4. Kyle Kendrick
Kyle is going to be an incredibly important piece for the Phillies in this coming year. With the injury-prone Halladay in front of him, Kyle is going to have to step up and I believe he will. After being mentored in the Phillies system by some of the best pitchers in the game, Kyle has picked up a great work ethic, as he has become Roy’s practice buddy, which is a very good thing.
The 28-year old righty has worked hard to develop his repertoire of pitches leading to a very strong finish last year. In his second half of the 2012 season he was 9-4 with a 2.64 ERA propelling the Phillies to a strong second half of the season. In the last 2 seasons, Kyle has had his ERA in the 3-4 range and I expect that Kyle will lower that ERA to a 2.5-3.5 range this season.
5. John Lannan
John Lannan will bring up the rear of the Phillies rotation this year. The Phillies were looking to find a starter for the back of their rotation after losing Vance Worley so they signed Lannan to a 1 year, $2.5 million contract. Lannan is a 6’4″, 28-year-old lefty who played for the Nationals last year. Lannan is a very reliable back of the rotation guy who has thrown at least 180 innings in his last 5 years. He has 4 pitches and is a finesse type pitcher who is extremely durable. I believe this was one of the best signings the Phillies had all offseason.