The Phillies Postseason Starting Pitching Staff for the 2008 playoffs consists of 4 pitchers.
Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton.
The 4 of these pitchers have combined for 7 wins total, out of the 8 needed to advance to the World Series. The Phillies may have a stellar bullpen, but let us not kid each other.
7 wins from the starters is a statistic that can not be ignored, and it is a positive indication of what is to come in the World Series.
Cole Hamels- 3-0, 22 IP, 1.93 ERA, 22 K
Lines like that will get your name etched into postseason lore very quickly. A closer look at Hamels:
The Good: His stat line says it all. Hamels pitched three games, went no less than 7 innings in any of them, and struck out an average of one batter per inning pitched.
Hamels has a steady array of pitches, but his change up is easily his most deadly. And just when you think he is going with the change up, he brings out his otherworldly fastball.
And if all that is predictable, watch out for his polished curve ball. Obviously his strikeout numbers are not a product of luck, but sheer dominance of the plate.
The Bad: When a pitcher has that many strikeouts, and leaves that many pitches over the plate, balls are going to be hit, and they are going to leave the park when matched with that kind of velocity.
Hamels was a hard luck loser during the regular season because of his penchant for giving up the solo HR on nights when the Phillies could not give him any run support.
Postseason has been a different story however, because the only mistakes Hamels made were to Manny Ramirez in the NLCS. An RBI double that went to the longest part of CBP that did not leave.
And that meaningless solo HR in Game 5 by Ramirez. By then the game, and series, was well out of reach.
The Ugly: Have not, and will not see it this postseason, if all goes well.
Brett Myers: 2-0, 12 IP, 7 ER, 10 K (4-5, BB, 3 RBI, 3 R Batting)
The Good: Myers pitches great in front of an energized home crowd, and he won both games he pitched.
While 12 IP and allowing 7 ER during those two games does not seem like much stellar pitching, Myers could easily be the third most valuable pitcher in this Phillies postseason.
His first game against the Brew Crew, he deftly issued his fastball of doom from his closer days last year, and hammered the plate for 7 innings of 2 run ball.
But his pitching came in second to his 1-2, BB batting line. He made C.C. Sabathia throw him a combined 19 pitches, and got a two out walk off of him that kept the inning alive for Victorino's Grand Slam...but that's a different story.
The Bad: Game 2 of the NLCS. Simply put, had the Phillies not scored eight runs, the Phillies may have lost that game, because Myers allowed 5 runs, 3 of which he served up in one shot to guess who? Yeah Manny Ramirez.
The final score was 8-5 Phillies however. The difference? Brett Myers 3-3 3 RBI batting performance.
The Ugly: In Game 2 of the NLDS against the Brewers, Myers issued a couple of walks, and walked in a run. This lack of control could haunt Myers against the Rays, but it remains to be seen whether pitching away from the Park will have a dire effect on him yet.
Jamie Moyer: N/A
The Good: He will be facing a young, potentially impatient Rays lineup that could bite on his pitches.
The Bad: His line is so horrendous, it will not be displayed.
Ugly: Simply put, Phillies starting pitching has only 2 losses in this series. And he is responsible for both of them.
Joe Blanton: 1-0, 11 IP, 4 ER, 8 K
The Good: Blanton using an array of pitches really stumped the Brewers in Game 5, the clinching game of that series, holding them to one run, a deep Prince Fielder bomb. He also struck out 8 this postseason, and improvement over his low strikeout numbers during the regular season.
The Bad: When the Phillies got Blanton from the A's he was touted as an "innings eater."
With Philly that has not been the case, as he has only gone longer than 6 innings once this whole half season he has been with him.
He is going to have to do better than that against the Rays in Game 4, in order to preserve the bullpen.
The Ugly: He pitches to contact, most noticeably fly ball contact, which at the Phillies bandbox park could be a problem.
Although both times he has pitched the Phillies have been on the road, and have won, his contact pitching might be his downfall.
It should not be that big, so as long as he keeps up with the ground balls and strikeouts.
When all is said and done, the Phillies have the starting pitching to take this series into their hands. Or should I say the arms of this rotation.