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1. Roy Halladay
2. Cole Hamels
3. Cliff Lee
4. Kyle Kendrick
5. John Lannan
The Phillies are a team that is going to rely heavily on their pitching to get them to the playoffs. They could realistically have three 20-game winners this season.
While pitching is the most important part of the game, there’s a big if with the Phillies' offense. If they can start driving in runs, the Phillies' pitching staff will guide this team to glory. Again, that’s a big if.
Roy Halladay is a workhorse. He has been a machine for more than a decade and one of the most dominating pitchers in the game. Coming off of an injury-plagued season, Halladay will put last season behind him and be back as good as ever. I don’t think there’s any question about that.
Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are two of the top left-handed pitchers in baseball. Hamels, a World Series MVP, is experiencing shoulder soreness, which is being downplayed by GM Ruben Amaro, according to csnphilly.com. He is important to this Phillies team, having started more than 30 games each year since 2008.
Hamels is coming off of his strongest season. He won 17 games, including two complete game shutouts, and struck out 216 batters, the most of his career.
Cliff Lee is consistent and has been putting up solid numbers for years. He lacked run support last season, which hurt his record. But if he puts up the same numbers as last year (211 innings pitched, 3.16 ERA), the Phillies will be in good shape.
This may be the best Big Three in the majors, which is why they are being mentioned. After their top three, however, the rotation takes a slight downward turn.
Kyle Kendrick is set to be the fourth starter, but we don’t know what to expect from him. After being bounced around from starter to reliever, he has struggled, compiling a 4.30 career ERA. He is no more than an average pitcher, but showed signs of breaking out last season, going 7-3 over his final 10 starts.
Time will tell what Kendrick we’re going to see in 2013.
John Lannan was signed to be the fifth starter. This gives the Phillies three left0handed pitchers in their starting five. Lefties are valuable, but Lannan has been trying to prove himself his whole career.
A change of scenery could benefit him. He pent most of last season in AAA for the Nationals and will be eager to prove he is still a big league pitcher.
The Phillies lack any depth behind Lannan, and though there are pitchers such as Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone ready to step in if needed, they aren't proven. There could be problems behind Philadelphia's big three if someone were to get injured.
An aging offense and an aging pitching staff mean time is running out for the Phillies to be contenders with this group. I think they will fall just short of reaching the playoffs.