Written by Kevin Jackman, Twitter- @kjackmansports, firstname.lastname@example.org
- 27 K’s
- 9.34 K/9
- 5.5/1 K/bb
- 26 Innings Pitched
- 5 bb’s
- 3 Hr’s
- 19 Runs
- 37 Hits
- 1.61 whip
- 6.57 era
Through the first turn of the rotation for the fantastic four plus Joe Blanton, the numbers above indicate plenty of room to improve for what is supposed to be an outstanding pitching staff. Coming in to this season as the most touted staff in the Big Leagues, the likes of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels have disappointed as a whole thus far.
So what happens if this prodigious pitching staff doesn’t live up to its billing? It means a team like Atlanta may just squeak past the Phillies in the standings with a little luck. Let’s analyze the Braves’ and Phillies’ pitching staffs.
- Roy Halladay vs. Tim Hudson: Winner- Halladay
- Cliff Lee vs. Jair Jurrjens: Winner- Lee
- Roy Oswalt vs. Derek Lowe: Winner- Oswalt
- Cole Hamels vs. Tommy Hanson: Winner- Hanson
- Joe Blanton vs. Brandon Beachy: Winner- Beachy
On paper the Phillies dominate this matchup, but somehow, some way, the Braves find ways to win. I don’t see a difference now with a new skipper in the dugout either. I don’t see this “elite” rotation being quite so elite. They should put up some good streaks, but I believe the pennant will be decided by the offenses. So now a look at them.
Philadelphia has been hitting as of late, but let’s face it, this is a team without their most consistent hitter, Chase Utley. Jimmy Rollins is a glass chandelier, Raul Ibanez is old, and Ryan Howard can’t carry a team on his own for 162 games.
Atlanta on the other hand has a fantastic blend of exciting youth and veteran presence. Jason Heyward is a terrific prospect who has already shown the maturity to play and succeed at the Major League level, while Chipper Jones continues to play and lead this team by example.
This should be exciting from start to finish in the NL East. Unless the Phillies front four don’t all pitch like Cy Young candidates, the Braves will have a chance to compete.