Thin Philadelphia Phillies' Pitching Staff Reveals Early Holes

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

Take away Cliff Lee’s eight shutout innings and the Philadelphia Phillies‘ wretched 7.10 team ERA would be worse. That 2013 staff sore won’t heal easily.

Cole Hamels didn’t throw well during his first two starts. But “Hollywood” is healthy and should be fine.

Roy Halladay climbed the mound with one good arm (his left one) last season. Since “Doc” is a right-hander that was a problem and is very likely to remain one again this year. His preseason comments about mushy pitching mounds and baseballs not being properly rubbed up were excuses, just as his words about Erik Kratz not setting up properly behind the plate after his first regular season start this year.

Halladay was a great pitcher for ten years. During that time he stood on plenty of imperfect hills, threw whatever balls the umpires gave him and succeeded with a variety of backstops who ranged from sound to sour. He’s clearly not coping well with reality.

Don’t count “Doc” out. He’s a fierce competitor and will do all that he can to adjust his game.

Kyle Kendrick is a .500 pitcher, which makes him a good back end of the rotation man.

John Lannan has thrown well into the first start of the season. He might overtake Kendrick, depending upon how consistently he throws this summer. Don’t shrug off the notion that he might pass Halladay as well.

Peering at the much-chided bullpen: Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo and Phillippe Aumont haven’t yielded an earned run so far this season.

Jonathan Papelbon isn’t the perfect closer, but he’s good. Like Hamels, he’s healthy and should be fine.

Chad Durbin has a 4.97 ERA and a 1.502 WHIP in fourteen major league seasons. W’e’ll see where the 35-year-old veteran is by May and take it from there.

Raul Valdes, a 35-year-old journeyman, and Jeremy Horst, a 27-year-old who has pitched 50 major league innings, are crap shoots at best.

Simplifying the staff math reveals that the Phillies have two strong starters (Lee and Hamels) and two reliable veteran relievers (Papelbon and Adams).

The remaining members of the starting rotation (Halladay, Kendrick and Lannan) can’t be counted on to win more than they lose. Except for Durbin, the rest of the bullpen contingent (Bastardo, Aumont, Valdes and Horst) don’t have deep major league resumes.

No playoff contender that I’m aware of has only four solid pitchers on its staff. Most have double that number.

Of course, there’s almost an entire season left to play and each questionable staff member has plenty of time to prove his worth. But, it’s fair to wonder how many Phillies’ pitchers will produce consistent results this season.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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