Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Philly Phour vs the Giant Beards

This season, as usual, will have a tremendous focus on pitching. Many have said the Phillies have the best rotation in baseball. Lets add the Giants to the mix and see who is really the best and if will it make a difference to the NL outcome. When I starting looking at this, I thought that the Phil’s had the whole thing sewed up, hands down. Well, what I have uncovered is pretty amazing.

I have chosen stats I think reflect how a pitching staff will do over the year. All pitchers can have a bad outing and also have exceptional ones. So, over the season what are the important numbers? I have based my stats on ERA. SO, BB, Hits and BAA (batting average against) and IP are the most important. Wins and losses are important but they really refer to many other factors that occur including errors and offensive strength on any given day. (I remember how Dave Steib could pitch a great game and not have any lumber behind him. His great game did not produce the desired W).

The aces for both the Phillies and the Giants are remarkably close in stats. Both have two Cy Young Awards. Roy Halliday won his with a higher number of wins in each of his two years (22/7, 21/10) and Tim Lincecum with 18/5 and 16/10. Halliday, over his 13-year career has an average of 17/9 and Lincecum 16/7. Very close.

Again, all top four starters on each team have some very close stats. Wins and losses: Phillies at .741 and Giants at .735. With strikeouts the Giants have it with 93 fewer innings pitched 770.1. vs 882.1. The Phillies have fewer bases on balls with 41 vs 65 for the Giants. The starters have combined for a BAA of 2.87 for the Phillies and .222 for the Giants. Roy Halliday’s legendary stamina was in evidence last season with 259.2 innings pitched, his most since 2006 at 266. The Phillies averaged 220.4 IP while the Giants (with Bumgarner out of the mix, too few starts) averaged 219.4 IP. So the Giants had great stamina as well.

What about ERA? Halliday has a lifetime at ERA 3.32 while Lincecum has an average of 3.64. For the four starters it’s an average of 3.47 for the Philly’s and the Giants came up with 3.56.

All these numbers have led to a very close match up of these two very tough rotations. What will make the difference?

The Philly Phour: Roy Halliday will be able to give his very standard year of around 18 to 19 wins and lots of innings to save the bullpen. Roy Oswalt, with ten years in and a late spring training neck injury may just be showing the sign of decline. Cliff Lee is on the downside of his career with many inconsistent outings. He will be lucky to maintain his record especially if injuries are a factor this season. Cole Hammels is young but has not finished a game in the major leagues after a five-year career.

The Giant Beards: Tim Lincecum in his four short years has shown the tremendous poise of the very best on the mound. Jonathan Sanchez has a great SO to BB ratio 205 to 96. He is starting to come into his own. The same for Matt Cain, 26, has been solid. Now for Madison Bumgarner, 21, is very young and hot. He has been outstanding in his whole career in the lower levels of ball. A top prospect and draft pick. Because of this, he has been brought up very fast. He had his most starts last year at 18 with 111.1 innings pitched. Also don’t forget that he scored a W on his first ever World Series start and went 8 innings against the Rangers.

While the Phillies are my favorite to return to the postseason because of Roy Halliday, I am giving the pitching nod to the Beards. They are on the up sides of their careers and as far as pitching is concerned, have put together the best rotation in baseball. Now for the beard himself, Brain Wilson should be back for April 5.This loss should not be too bad, but until then Sergio Romo will do the job. For the Phillies, Brad Lidge is out for several weeks and it will be Jose Contreras. The Giant Beards should play through again to the World Series.

All these stats make it a very close call for who’s the best. I thought the Philly Phour would prove to be on top but the Giant Beards are just as good and maybe a slight bit better. Will either team win 100? It looks like the National League will wind up just like last year: Phillies in the East, Cincinnati in the Central and the Giants in the West.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

The season has started! I'm listening on the Internet to the game from Yankee Stadium and I'm loving hearing a real game again!

John, I think you're correct on everything but the NL Central. I expect the Cards and Brewers to give the Reds a good run for their money. Philly might also be more vulnerable on offense than we think, at least until Uttley returns. Right field is a question, too, for offense.

Time will tell -- as it always does.