Let’s Talk Starting Pitching

With all of Philadelphia in a malaise over the Phillies’ offense, the effort from four of the five starting pitchers has been overlooked. Joe Blanton, still trying to find his stuff six starts after recovering from a strained left oblique, has been the odd man out. Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, and even Kyle Kendrick (relatively speaking) have been rather effective so far in 2010.

Roy Halladay

  • Perfect game on 5/29/10 against the Florida Marlins
  • 5 complete games, 3 shut-outs
  • Averaging 7.2 IP per start, on pace for 34 starts and about 262 innings, which would be the highest IP in a season by a Phillie since Curt Schilling tossed 268.2 in 1998
  • 9 of 11 starts have qualified as quality starts
  • On pace for 213 strikeouts, would be the 14th most in Phillies history since 1920
  • Leads all Major League pitchers (with at least 50 IP) in SIERA at 2.96

Cole Hamels

  • Gave up three runs or fewer in five straight starts before rain-shortened outing on Tuesday in Atlanta (six straight even if you count that start)
  • Four of previous five starts — excluding Tuesday — have been quality starts
  • Averaging a strikeout per inning
  • Struggled to put away left-handed hitters entering 2010, but is holding them to a .273 OBP and .268 SLG in 2010 likely due to his new cut fastball
  • 3.51 SIERA is ninth-best in the National League and 16th overall

Jamie Moyer

  • Has completed six innings in nine out of ten starts
  • Earned a complete game shut-out against the Atlanta Braves on 5/7/10
  • While not exactly Cy Young material, he has kept the team in every game in which he has pitched, never surrendering more than five runs
  • Walk rate (1.8 per nine innings) is at its lowest since 1998

Kyle Kendrick

  • Has left the game without allowing a run three times: 4/20 @ ATL (8 IP), 5/5 vs. STL (7 IP) and 5/28 @ FLA (6 IP)
  • Quality starts in three out of his last four outings
  • Has walked two or fewer in each of his last six starts
  • Reached the sixth inning in five out of his last six starts
  • ERA now a respectable 4.62, down from 5.04 (and a matching 5.01 SIERA)

The Phillies’ offense may have fallen from their perch atop the National League in offense, but the pitching has come together. Even the bullpen has been reliable in the wake of injuries to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, although they have not had too many opportunities for shutdowns and meltdowns while the offense has been slumping. Before today’s series finale in Atlanta, the team ranked sixth in the league in runs allowed per game at 3.98, just behind the Braves at 3.96. Having allowed only two runs to the Braves on Wednesday, that average drops to 3.94.

It is a crying shame that the Phillies have been wasting these great pitching performances with a dreadfully impotent offense over the past two weeks. After the 5-1 victory to open up the series with the Boston Red Sox, the Phillies had a run differential of +69 for a Pythagorean winning percentage of .676. In other words, based on run differential, the Phillies played like like a 110-win team. In the last 11 games, the Phillies’ run differential is -36, or a Pythagorean winning percentage of .073, which comes out to a 12-win team in a 162-game season.

If the Phillies hit like a bottom-feeding offensive team, averaging 3 runs per game, the Pythagorean winning percentage would come out to .303, 49 wins in a full season. If the Phillies had hit like they normally do, averaging 5 runs per game, the Pythag equals .548, an 89-win team.

4/5 5/21 41 224 155 .676 28 13 110 52
5/22 6/2 11 14 50 .073 1 10 12 150
4/5 6/2 52 238 205 .574 30 22 93 69

Glossary | PWL = Pythagorean W-L record | XW = Expected wins | XL = Expected losses | XW-162 = Expected wins per 162 games | XL-162 = Expected losses per 162 games