Roy Halladay’s struggles mean that Philadelphia Phillies pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have no room for error in 2013. Roy Halladay may not be capable of carrying a team on his back anymore, but he’s certainly capable of being a number three starter that is as good or better than any other number three in Major League Baseball. The Phillies are at an offensive disadvantage against other playoff caliber teams, if the pitching doesn’t click then they won’t have any chance.
What changes for the Phillies is the margin of error. Last year the Phillies had a low margin of error and we saw Cliff Lee fail to get run support and struggle to keep late inning runs off the scoreboard. Halladay struggled last year, and the Phillies still finished .500, if Cliff Lee had run support (and a fewer late home runs in low scoring games) the Phillies would have finished closer to the playoffs.
The bottom line is the Phillies are already at a supreme disadvantage to the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves offensively. The Phillies advantage over the last few years has been their starting pitching. The problem is the Nationals now have a rotation that can compete with the Phillies (most think its better, and they aren’t wrong), and the Braves young pitchers are, one by one, looking like they can meet their potential; Kris Medlen broke out last year, I think Mike Minor can this year, plus Brandon Beachy should be back by summer and Julio Teheran has made scouts drool for years. This could be his year.
A team can certainly go far with two great starting pitchers (the Arizona Diamondbacks won a World Series on with those merits), but as the season gets closer its getting more and more apparent that the Phillies are entering a doomsday scenario season, where the Phillies need every piece to play well. If Cole or Cliff misses a beat this year, expect the Phillies to miss the playoffs, and the team to get dismantled.