The Phillies may very well have the best rotation in baseball. However, being the best is often times not good enough. All it takes is one fluke to mess it up for everything else.
Therefore, the Phillies will not be satisfied as we come down the final stretch to just stick with the status quo. They are going to look at how they can maximize the talent that they have to finish strongly. Here are five ways that they should do that.
As we all know, there are the four aces and Vance Worley. These five have been carrying the Phillies throughout the season with Kyle Kendrick helping out when necessary. Kendrick has been having a very good season though with a 7-5 record and a 3.24 ERA.
This success has the Internet buzzing as to whether or not the Phillies should expand to a six man rotation for the final month.
I personally do not think that this would be the best move for the Phillies. While I appreciate the intent of resting the arms so that they don't burn out, I think that a better move would be to use Kendrick in various spots as needed to rest certain pitchers. Once pitchers have established their routines, it is not always a good move to mess with that.
I know that a lot of this depends on how efficiently he is throwing the ball on that day. For example, if he used up 100 pitches in five innings, then that would probably be it. However, I would raise his pitch limit a little bit. In July, his only start with under 100 pitches was on July 31, where he only threw 99 pitches so maybe this one is already in effect.
I think that he proved that he can go to 110 pitches and the Phillies would be smart to allow him to do this. For one thing, he will be in the bullpen once the playoffs start so he can rest then. It would make sense if he can pitch deeper into games by allowing him to throw a few more pitches before pulling him, he can help the rest of the bullpen by not needing them to get those outs.
As we all know, it is that time of the season where every game is viewed as vital to success. Without a doubt, the Phillies need to play every game to win just like always. I am just emphasizing the fact that if one of the aces has one bad game, it cannot be blown out of proportion.
Charlie Manuel obviously is not going to get rid of any one of the aces because of one bad start. However, I just wanted to show that panicking would not help anyone. The Phillies are professionals and so should perform with composure, but it is worth realizing that the Phillies will probably not be undefeated for the rest of the season.
I know that I'm pretending to see the future, but they very well could meet up with either these teams in the National League Championship Series. The Phillies have the best record in the National League, and the Braves and the Brewers are tied for second. However, the Phillies have six games left versus Atlanta and four versus Milwaukee.
If the rotation holds up in the same order, the same three starters would face Atlanta both times. Two of those starters would face Milwaukee as well along with the final two starters in the rotation.
Of course, all of this depends on whether or not the Phillies adopt a six man rotation.
However, the point remains that the Phillies need to learn how to pitch against either one of these opponents so that they will know how to most successfully utilize their talent to win in the playoffs.
Let's face it, the reason that the Phillies put together this star-studded pitching rotation was largely to make it to and win the World Series. Therefore, in order to maximize the talent, they need to use perhaps a spot start by Kyle Kendrick (I did not say add him to the rotation) so that the rotation will be in the optimal order for the playoffs.
They can maximize the playoff appearances by the front three in the playoffs if they use the end of the season to get the rotation in the right order. If they do this, they should be able to use this talent to the highest level possible. This preparation will allow them to be ready for whoever they face.