In the beginning of the 2011 season all the hype was focused on Philadelphia’s 4 Aces. The media and the rabid fans of the Phillies claimed that this was the best pitching staff that any team has ever seen. The thing was that this staff had yet to throw one pitch in the regular season, and already labeled the best ever. Well since then they have played 73 games and have the best record in baseball of 45-28. This is how “The Best Pitching Staff in History” has fared so far.
34-21/ 3.13 Era (1st in MLB)/ 7 complete games (1st in MLB)/ 424 Ks (1st in MLB)/ 97 walks aloud (1st in MLB)
The starting staff leads all of Baseball in ERA, Complete Games, Strikeouts, and Walks allowed. That is an impressive stat right there! Now to get a little more impressed, if you take out the 5th Starter (Blanton, Kendrick, Worley) and just show the stats of the highly hyped 4 Aces this is what you have.
4 Aces: 29-16/ 2.83 Era/ 7 Complete games/369 Ks/75 walks aloud 5th Starter: 5-5/5.95 Era/55ks/22 walks aloud
You can find one, two, or three of the four aces in the top statistical categories for Pitchers in the MLB. The thing that sticks out to me is how this compares to other teams starting rotation. There are individuals who are having a better season so far than the four aces. Take Josh Beckett (6-2/1.86 Era/79ks) or Jair Jurrjens (9-3/2.11 Era/53Ks) they have better ERAs then Halladay, Hamels, Lee, and Oswalt. They have a good winning percentage, Jurrjens with the same record of Hamels and Halladay. Still if you look around the league there are not many Duo’s having a better season than Hamels/Halladay. Actually I can only think of 3 that you can even put in the same category so far, and that is Jurrjens/Hanson of the Braves, Haren/Weaver of the Angels and Verlander/Scherzer of the Tigers.
Jurrjens:9-3/2.11Era/53Ks/18BBS Halladay:9-3/2.56/114Ks/14BBs Hanson:8-4/2.48Era/89Ks/30BBS Hamels:9-3/2.51Era/103Ks/19BBS
Verlander:9-3/2.54Era/110ks/26BBS Weaver:8-4/2.06Era/96Ks/26BBS Scherzer:9-2/4.32Era/80Ks/32BBS Haren:6-5/2.96Era/89Ks/16BBS
Now Hamels/Halladay both have 9 wins so far, the only other staff with two 9 game winners is Detriot with Verlander/Scherzer. Hamels/Halladay are ranked 6th and 9th in best ERA in MLB. The only other staff with 2 starters ranked in the top ten for ERA is Atlanta with Jurrjens/Hanson. No teams has 2 starters with 100ks so far, let alone 3, as the Phillies do with Halladay/Hamels/Lee. So you can compare the other 3 duo’s so far on Atlanta, Detriot, and LAA, but in my opinion Hamels/Hallday stand out. When you look at the 3 best starters on all MLB staffs no team even comes close to the trio of Hamels/Halladay/Lee. The Phillies trio of Hamels/Halladay/Lee each have 100ks, 7+ wins, ERAs below 3.13, rank top 5 in K/B ratio and Strikeouts. Roy Oswalt has been hampered by injury and family crisis, yet still has a nice line of 4-5/3.38Era/41ks/18BBS which is not too bad for the teams 4th best pitcher. So individually, as a duo, a trio, or as the 4 Aces no starting staff comes close to what the Phillies have achieved so far.
BEST PITCHED GAME BY A STARTER THIS YEAR: (4/14/2011) PHL @WSH: W 4-0: Cliff Lee: 9ip/3H/0 Runs/12ks/ 99 pitches
11-7/2.80 ERA (3rd Best in MLB)/22 Saves (2nd Best in MLB)/2 Blown Saves (1st in MLB)/ Save % 92 (1st in MLB)/ 67 Runs let up (1st in MLB)
Coming into this season there wasn’t much talk of the Phillies bullpen. Lidge the closer, Madson set up, Contreras 7th inning man. In March Brad Lidge went down with an injury and Jose Contreras took the role as closer. Contreras went 5 for 5 in save chances before going down with an injury himself. Ryan Madson took over as the role as closer and since then has gone 15 for 16 in save chances. Also two young pitchers emerged in Bastardo (25yrs old) and Stutes (24yrs old).
Bastardo: 3-0/1.00ERA/7 Holds/2 Saves/27 innings/32Ks
Stutes: 1-0/2.08ERA/4 Holds/21.2 innings/22ks
Bastardo has become the main setup man in the bullpen and lone lefty. He has shown maturity and confidence in his role. Stutes has been thrown in to keep the lead or prevent the other team from adding on insurance runs. He has earned Charlie Manuals trust and can be used in any situation and has proven to be reliable. Kyle Kendrick has proven he is better out of the bullpen then as a starter. As a reliever he is
Even David Herndon is beginning to come around, not allowing an earned run in 12 innings since coming back up from the minors. But, the true star of the Bullpen has to be Ryan Madson
Madson: 3-1/2.03ERA/15 Saves/2 Holds/31 innings/34ks
He has emerged as one of the best closers in all of baseball this year. He has the mental toughness and the tools to become one of baseball’s premiere closers. He has only 1 blown save all year, and continues to close the door on opponents chances for a late inning rally.
BEST PITCHED GAME BY THE BULLPEN THIS YEAR: (5/25/2011) CIN @ PHL: W 5-4: Bullpen: 12 innings pitched/4 hits/1 run/10ks
AS A WHOLE:
45-28 (1st in MLB)/3.03 Era (1st in MLB)/578ks (3rd in MLB)/7 Shutouts (1st in MLB)/9 Complete Games (1st in MLB)/22 Saves (2nd in MLB)/2 Blow Saves (1st in MLB)
This pitching staff is projected to win 100 games, have two 20 game winners, and a possible third in Cliff Lee, 3 pitchers over 250ks, 3 starters with ERA’s under 3.00, 50+ Saves and a possible Cy Young Winner. If this staff keeps up these numbers, they can have one of the best, if not the best starting rotation in history and possibly one of the best pitching staffs as a whole. If the Phillies do what their team is built to do and win the World Series this year, and continue at this pace I don’t see how they can not be considered one of the best pitching staffs of all time.