We spend a lot of time worrying about pitching in Philadelphia. As I type this, Kyle Kendrick is in a dog fight with mediocrity out in Denver. Even with a decent run of good outings, the questions remain. What is this rotation going to look like in a couple of months? Who is going to close games? There’s plenty of scenarios, and a lot of them aren’t too pretty. One of the good things about Philadelphia is that we have that tunnel vision. What is happening in other cities doesn’t matter. That is true for the most part, but sometimes there is an opportunity for some perspective. It’s not in my nature, because I love to dog the Phillies pitching staff, but when you look around the league, you realize there’s not a lot of good pitching out there.
Can we pick on Boston a little more, since they can’t close out the Flyers? I think so. Take a gander at Dice-K, Beckett and Lackey. Three guys who were supposed to anchor the best 1-5 rotation in baseball. Lackey’s got a Jamie Moyer style 4 wins with his 4.6 ERA. Beckett’s been terrible, and Matsuzaka worse since he came back. Thank god for the young guys. Of course, have they noticed this in Boston, or is everyone in line at the courthouse changing their name to Rajon?
Pick another contender. How about the Cardinals. A fearsome staff by NL standards, right? Well, the anchor at the back of their rotation is our old friend Kyle Lohse and his 5.45 ERA. He’d fit right back in here. And, Jamie Garcia? Let’s let this kid get around the league once and then see what happens. Somebody peaked early.
I was worried about the Braves. Touting them to everyone who would listen. Well, Hanson and Hudson have done their part, but we’re about ready to play Taps for this team. Lowe, Jurrgens and Kawakami have been awful. This was supposed to be the strength of the team, now they’re giving up a ton of runs and counting on a rookie to bail them out.
Colorado? A trendy pick, and they have maybe the best pitcher in the whole league right now in Ubaldo Jimenez. I’ll wait why you try to think of the rest of their rotation. Aaron Cook, Greg Smith and Jason Hammel have given up 62 earned runs in about 80 innings. Who’s pitching games 3 and 4 for this team if they make the playoffs?
Having a terrible fifth starter is par for the course at this point. San Francisco has Todd Wellemeyer and his 5.97 ERA. The Yankees are saddled with Javy Vazquez. The Dodgers have some cat named Charlie Haeger with an ERA over 8. Who? The Twins have a mushy back-end of the rotation.
So, essentially everywhere you look there are problems on the mound. Except for Tampa. Don’t look at Tampa right now. They are scary. And, some of these teams are probably in better shape than the Phils. You don’t need five starters for the playoffs, but it’s important to realize that here as well. One of these guys we get toss onto the scrap heap. If Happ comes back effectively maybe that’s two guys getting tossed. Mid-season acquisition? How’s three new faces sound? Pretty good right? Maybe things aren’t so bleak.