In a year of almost incomprehensible dominance from the Philadelphia Phillies' starting rotation, each and every starter to toe the rubber has managed to perform at or near ace-like levels.
We're all aware of the performances of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. But rookie sensation Vance Worley has been equally, if not more dominant, than the rest. Through 71.1 innings pitched, The Vanimal sports a 2.33 ERA with seven wins to just one loss. His 60 strikeouts and 1.10 WHIP is nothing to scoff at, either.
When Roy Oswalt went down in June with a back injury, in stepped Kyle Kendrick. Granted, ace-like level may be a tad less applicable to his performance so far, but a 3.19 ERA is plenty good for a fifth starter. His strikeout and win totals haven't been at the same level of the rest of the rotation, but filling in for Oswalt one could make the argument that he almost out-pitched him.
It is because of Worley and Kendrick's surprising performances that Oswalt has become the just the sixth best starter on the staff so far.The last time he was that low on the totem pole was, well, never. At least definitely not in professional baseball.
So how is it possible that the sixth best starter of any rotation can be a catalyst to a team's World Series hopes? Let's break it down.