Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pitching? We Don't Need No Stinking Pitching

In my earlier post, uncle jellyfish commented that we should not gloss over the absolutely terrible pitching from the Phillies so far this season, so let's take a look at just how horrible the Phillies pitching staff has been so far this season, despite being 10-8 and just a half game out of first place in the NL East.

Currently, the Phillies have the worst ERA in the National League at 5.98, with only the New York Yankees (6.18) and Texas Rangers (5.99) having higher ERAs than the Phils in the entire majors. And that's without Adam Eaton on the roster this year. Go figure.

When you look even further, the numbers get worse. The Phillies, due to inclement weather, have only played 18 games this season, less than the majority of teams in baseball. Despite that, the Phils have given up more home runs than other team in baseball, surrendering an astounding 39 long balls in 18 games. For you math majors out there, that's over two home runs a game. If that number was to hold up, the Phils would end up surrendering 351 home runs. The major league record is 241 surrendered by the 1996 Detroit Tigers; the NL record is 230 allowed by the 2001 Colorado Rockies.

Yeah, so if the Phils keep it up, they'd obliterate the current record by more than 100 home runs. That's awful, and it lets you know just how horrific the pitching has been. On a bright note, a couple weeks ago when I was driving to my cousin's house, Larry Anderson explained on the radio how the Phils were on pace to surrender over 400 home runs, so they're improving, right?

In all seriousness, you'd have to think the pitching will start to straighten out at some point. These guys aren't as terrible as they've shown thus far, but man, they need to get their acts together here soon. The biggest problem has been the number of pitches that Joe Blanton, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho Park have been grooving right down the middle of the plate. I don't care who you are, you can't throw meatballs in the majors and expect the best hitters on the planet to miss them. They don't. And that's been their biggest problem.

Sure, there have been occasional spells where the pitchers can't find the strike zone, but for the most part, the problem has been finding too much of the strike zone. Stay away from the middle of the plate, and watch the home run numbers drop.

The Phils offense is really good. One of the better lineups in baseball. But to ask them to have to put up 6-plus runs every night to win is not exactly a good way to defend the World Series title. Luckily, the offense has been bailing the pitching out so far, but if the Phils truly have visions of a repeat, the pitchers need to get their heads out of their asses and start hitting their spots.

Otherwise, it's going to be a long, hot summer of our pitchers getting whiplash. How's about you start to turn this around for me tonight there, Cole?

BallHype: hype it up!