The Phillies responded to an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros at home by flying out to San Diego and sweeping the Padres in three games. The offense didn’t exactly wake up, but the starting pitching was immaculate, and in the finale yesterday, the Phillies did manage to score more than three runs for just the second time since August 19.
Just how good has the pitching been?
|AVERAGE per 9 IP||7||2||2||1||8||1||0||61|
A quality start corresponds to a game score of 50. Phillies starters have put up a game score of 50 or better in 13 out of the last 16 games. Roy Halladay (avg. 68), Roy Oswalt (69), and Joe Blanton (61) are 3-for-3 in quality starts in their last three starts, while Cole Hamels (64) is 3-1 and Kyle Kendrick is 1-2 (43).
Since August 13, the Phillies’ overall pitching (including the bullpen) has averaged a 2.24 ERA with 7.9 strikeouts and 1.2 walks per nine innings, a ratio of nearly seven-to-one. Halladay leads all of Major League Baseball (min. 100 IP) with a 2.87 SIERA and should now be the favorite to win the National League Cy Young award. Hamels went into yesterday’s start fifth in the NL with a 3.22 SIERA and Oswalt wasn’t far behind in seventh at 3.34.
As ill as fans felt after the Astros series, the Phillies are still winners of nine out of their last 15 games, good for a winning percentage of .600. As mentioned on Friday, the Phillies still have plenty of opportunities to gain significant ground in both playoff races. With a 1-2-3 punch of Halladay-Oswalt-Hamels that rivals that of any other in Major League Baseball, the Phillies will be ready to play some good baseball in the month of September. Should they be fortunate enough to reach the post-season for a fourth consecutive year, be it via the Wild Card or by winning the NL East, they will be the team the rest of the field least wants to meet.