Short answer: Yes.
The now second-place Philadelphia Phillies are the definition of inconsistent. Whether it’s the slow start that the pitching staff suffered at the beginning of the season or the recent lack of production on the offensive side of the field, the Phils have managed to keep its fans on the edge of their seats all season, for better or for worse. With the team having played a majority of the season and still holding onto its first place lead, fans should cautiously start to anticipate what a playoff run could look like for the Phillies and how our pitching could play a role in our potential postseason success.
Breakdown of Starting Rotation
As the Phillies’ only all-star, Aaron Nola has been outstanding this season on the mound. With the highest pitching WAR in the MLB and the second-highest win-loss percentage in the league, Nola will be key to gaining confidence for our young team if we manage to play a series this postseason. Having a clear-cut, Cy Young award-caliber number one option is a luxury that most teams do not have. I expect Nola to continue his success as we near the end of the season and approach October.
After struggling during the beginning of the season, the former Cy Young award winner has turned it around recently, as he is 4-0 in his last 7 starts with a 2.28 ERA. Arrieta’s return to his old self has greatly helped the Phils maintain some stability in the latter half of the season as the team has fought to keep its first place record.
After Nola and Arrieta, the remaining three members of the rotation are relatively equal in their abilities to help this team. Winning three and losing one of his last seven games, Eflin has been pretty reliable on the mound this season. While his performance this season is slightly disappointing in terms of his ERA, it is safe to say that he has improved greatly since his 1-5 record and his 6.16 ERA last season. Despite a frustrating loss last night, Eflin had a great outing and provided Phillies’ fans with even more confidence in the starter.
Playing solid as of late, Velasquez has also won three and lost one of his last seven, and has allowed only 2.01 earned runs during that period. Though his record may not be as impressive as Eflin’s, his impact on the hill will certainly help the Phils later in the rotation if the are given the chance to play deep into the fall.
Although he has the worst record, worst ERA, and worst WHIP of the starting five, Pivetta does have Nola beat in the strikeouts department with three more on the year. Although he seems like bit of a project compared to the other starters, Pivetta has been solid over has past seven games with three wins and two losses. Pivetta definitely needs some work before he can secure a more permanent spot in the rotation, but I have faith that he can turn it around.
Standouts in the Bullpen:
While he has struggled recently, Dominguez has been fairly consistent for the Phils this season. With a jaw-dropping 0.87 WHIP, Dominguez certainly has the potential and talent to be a shutdown closer for the Phillies; he just is not there yet unfortunately.
So, will the Phillies pitching be good enough to help us compete if we make it into the postseason? I think so. Our bullpen is definitely an area of concern, but with two WHIPs under 1 and some of the other guys in the pen seeming to get it done on the mound recently, I do not think the Phillies’ pitching will be their issue if they do in fact make the playoffs. If the Phillies can start producing again consistently on offense and get hot in time for the postseason, I could see the Fightin’ Phils making a little run this October.
Sean Zarzatian, Underdawg Sports Writer
Picture Courtesy of Isaiah J. Downing of USA TODAY Sports