Those amazing Phillies have done it again. For like the 100th year in a row, it didn't appear that they were going to make it to the post season. And once again, the Phillies hung around and hung around and inched their way to the top. This Fan knew it was coming though. In fact a post was devoted to them about a month and a half ago stating that they were far from dead and look out in September. And they have four really good reasons they have risen to the top once again. Those reasons? Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt and Blanton.
Baseball-reference.com currently has Halladay as the number one pitcher in the National League in Wins Above Replacement (WAR). They list Oswalt and number 8 and Hamels at number 9. Fangraphs rates Halladay number one, Oswalt at 9 and Hamels at 14.
Halladay's ERA was 2.19 in the first half and 3.01 in the second half. So you might be thinking that he's slipped a little bit. But those numbers are a bit misleading. In the second half, Halladay has walked nine batters in twelve starts and his K/BB ratio in the second half is 9.11 to 1. Holy smokes!
Cole Hamels has an ERA in the second half of 1.98. Incredibly, he's only won four of those twelve starts despite striking out 10.2 batters per nine innings and having a K/BB ratio of 5.83.
Roy Oswalt has gone 7-1 since joining the Phillies with a 1.94 ERA and a WHIP of 0.947. And those numbers wouldn't even be that high if it wasn't for his first start which accounted for his lone loss when he was asked to pitch the same day he joined the team.
Joe Blanton is 4-1 in the second half with a 3.68 ERA. His K/BB ration in the second half is a healthy 3.55. Blanton has been unlucky in both halves of the season with a BABIP of .336 in the second half after it was .322 in the first half. That's a pretty long streak of bad luck.
So those are your four pitchers for the playoffs. Unlike last year when you only needed three starters most of the post season, there are less days off this year (Thanks, Bud), so teams will need four starters. Let's hypothetically look at match ups for every series the Phillies could play.
If they play the Giants:
Game One: Halladay versus Lincecum. Toss up. Though the Fan would rather have Halladay.
Game Two: Hamels versus Cain. Hamels takes that one.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Sanchez. Oswalt easily. Sanchez walks too many batters and needs to leave too many games too early.
Game Four: Blanton versus Zito. Advantage Blanton.
If they play the Reds:
Game One: Halladay versus Arroyo. Halladay is better.
Game Two: Hamels versus Cueto. It's got to be Hamels.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Homer Bailey. Oh please.
Game Four: Blanton versus Travis Wood. Slight edge to Blanton.
If they play the Padres:
Game One: Halladay versus Latos: Latos faded down the stretch. Halladay.
Game Two: Hamels versus Garland: Hamels.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Richard: Oswalt.
Game Four: Blanton versus Luebke? Who? Blanton no matter who.
If they play the Rockies:
Game One: Hallday versus Jiminez: A draw or slight edge to Halladay.
Game Two: Hamels versus Hammels (which is kind of fun): Hamels
Game Three: Oswalt versus Chacin? Who? Oswalt
Game Four: Blanton versus De La Rosa: Probably a draw in fairness.
If they play Atlanta:
Game One: Halladay versus Hudson: Halladay.
Game Two: Hamels versus Hanson: Hamels.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Lowe: Oswalt.
Game Four: Blanton versus Who? Miles? Blanton
If they play the Yankees:
Game One: Halladay versus Sabathia: A draw.
Game Two: Hamels versus Pettitte: A draw
Game Three: Oswalt versus Barnett: Oh please.
Game Four: Blanton versus Hughes: Hughes in Philly or Blanton in New York. A draw?
If they play the Rays:
Game one: Halladay versus Price: A draw or slight Halladay edge.
Game Two: Hamels versus Garza: Hamels
Game Three: Oswalt versus Shields: Oswalt.
Game Four: Blanton versus Wade Davis: A draw.
If they play the Twins:
Game One: Halladay versus Liriano: Slight edge to Halladay.
Game Two: Hamels versus Pavano: Hamels.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Slowey: Oswalt.
Game Four: Blanton versus Anybody Else: Blanton
If they play the Rangers:
Game One Halladay versus Lee: Lee.
Game Two: Hamels versus Wilson. A draw.
Game Three: Oswalt versus Hunter: A draw
Game Four: Blanton versus Lewis: Blanton
From this perch, the Phillies can out rotation anybody in the National League. They can out pitch the Rays. They have a slight edge over the Yankees. They out pitch the Twins. The Rangers might be their worst match up. Of course, all of those series would be more than just the rotations. You have to look at offenses and defenses and the bullpens, but more often than not, post season series hinge on the rotations. From where the Fan is sitting, the Phillies have never been in better position to win the World Series. And that is scary considering they've been in the last two and won one of them already.