After an inconsistent 2012 season, the Philadelphia Phillies have a ton of questions going into next season. The Phillies have holes at third base, in their bullpen and every single outfield position is still up in the air.
One question most seem to be over looking is what will the order of the Phillies starting pitching rotation look like in 2013. Most importantly, who will be named the starting pitcher on opening day come April 1.
The Phillies will open the season on the road against the Atlanta Braves, another team who will be going through an abundant amount of changes come next season. Outfielder Michael Bourn is a prized free agent and third baseman Chipper Jones will be enjoying retirement.
Do the Phillies continue with their trend of the past few seasons and start Roy Halladay?
Halladay battled injuries since spring training and was never really the dominant force he had been in the past. He only started 25 games in 2012 and threw only 156.1 innings—his lowest totals since 2005. Halladay also posted his highest ERA since 2000 (4.49).
Hopefully a longer offseason will benefit Halladay and he can come back strong in 2013.
Another opening day starter option is Cliff Lee, who despite having a 6-9 record, pitched extremely well in 2012.
Lee finished seventh in the NL in innings pitched (211), fourth in strikeouts (207), ninth in ERA (3.16) and sixth in WHIP (1.11).
If Lee gets the nod, pitching coach Rich Dubee could go with a Lee, Halladay and Hamels rotation to split up his lefties.
Who should be the Phillies' opening day starter?
The man I believe should start on opening is Cole Hamels, who is fresh off signing his six year, $144 million contract that will keep him in Phillies' pinstripes until at least 2018. He is also coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Going 17-6 in 215.1 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.05.
Hamels finished in the Top Ten in almost every single NL pitching category. He was fifth in wins (17), sixth in innings pitched (215.1), third in strikeouts (216), eight in ERA (3.05), seventh in WHIP (1.12) and fourth in complete games with two.
Hamels has developed into one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game, and with Roy Halladay entering the tail end of his career, it is time for Hamels to take back the No. 1 spot in the Phillies' rotation.
The next question Dubee will have to answer is who will man the second spot, Halladay or Lee? A tough decision to say the least, but the Phillies will most likely want to split the two up.
Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick will most likely be the fourth and fifth starters baring an offseason trade.