Blog Archives

The Phillies Pitching Problem

The Philadelphia Phillies are finishing this season in last place primarily because of poor starting pitching.

Cole Hamels did have a wonderful season and Cliff Lee was on his way to a solid year before going down with an elbow injury at the end of July.  Outside of their two horses the starting staff has given almost nothing to Ryne Sandberg.

Philly is the first MLB team since 2012 with two pitchers making 30 starts and finishing with an ERA+ of less than 85.


Year   Lg                    Tm                                   #Matching
2014   NL Philadelphia Phillies         2      A.J.  Burnett / Kyle  Kendrick
2012   AL     Cleveland Indians         2 Ubaldo  Jimenez / Justin  Masterson
2012   AL    Kansas City Royals         2        Bruce  Chen / Luke  Hochevar
2012   NL  San Francisco Giants         2         Tim  Lincecum / Barry  Zito
2011   NL         New York Mets         2      Chris  Capuano / Mike  Pelfrey


Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/26/2014.



Justin Verlander Never Quit Being Elite

Justin Verlander proved last night that he has still got it.  The media may have you think that he had lost it this year.  That he was finished as an ace.  After tossing eight shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics in the deciding game of the ALDS they will now tell you that he is back.  The problem with this narrative is that he never went anywhere.

According to pitcher WAR over at FanGraphs, Verlander ranked seventh best among all major league starters.  He is just ahead of Cliff Lee, Chris Sale and Yu Darvish.  This in his supposed down season.

Verlander finished with the fourth most strikeouts in the American League, one ahead of Felix Hernandez.

No one is writing that any of those four elite pitchers have taken a step back or are finished as an ace.  Verlander showed us last night that we shouldn’t even think of writing him off yet.

Another Phillies pitcher makes the All-Star team

With a 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate over his last 16 starts of 2012 Cliff Lee garners a spot on the NL 2nd half All-Star team.  When you are only walking 2 out of every 100 batters you face you are going to prevent some runs.  During this span Lee gave up only 2.3 runs/start while going at least 6 innings in each of the 16 starts.

Cliff did “lose” 4 games in the second half but he gave up only 3 runs/game in these “losses”.

2002 Upper Deck Ovation #159 Cliff Lee WP RC - Cleveland Indians RC - Rookie Card

Through 280 big league starts I feel like Lee is on the border of hall-of-fame election.  He should get to at least 2,200 strikeouts for his career which would place him in the range of Jim Palmer, Tommy John and Doc Gooden.  Lee’s K/BB rate is identical to Bret Saberhagen which is world class company and his likely career WAR (50) will tie him with Sandy Koufax & Whitey Ford.

So what accomplishments does Lee have to reach to get your HOF vote?  Also, how much do you weigh in his fantastic postseason mark?  Lee’s average outing over 11 starts is 8 K, 1 BB, 2.5 Runs.