The Need for Pitching
Ruben Amaro Jr. has said a few times this week that Cliff Lee and Jarrod Washburn were the only two starting pitchers traded before last year’s trade deadline. (Amaro forgot Jake Peavy, although the guy was traded when he was hurt so I’m not sure he counts anyway.)
And last year Amaro said CC Sabathia and Joe Blanton were the only two starting pitchers traded before the 2008 trade deadline.
His point: Trading for pitching is hard.
I mentioned earlier this week that Phillies starting pitchers had a respectable 3.95 ERA before the All-Star break. They have a 4.02 ERA after Jamie Moyer‘s poor showing last night at Wrigley Field.
And that is why Amaro and Charlie Manuel would love to find starting pitching before July 31: Remove Roy Halladay from the equation and the rotation has a 4.68 ERA. Remove Halladay and Cole Hamels from the equation and the rotation has a 4.99 ERA. Now, I know you can’t just throw out Halladay’s and Hamels’ numbers. But Amaro and Manuel see the other three spots and wonder how they’re going to catch the Braves in the NL East with so much inconsistency.
The Braves are on pace to win 97 games, but let’s say they stumble a bit in the second half and finish with 92. The Phillies would need to go 45-29 (.608) the rest of the way just to tie them.
The Rockies are on pace to win the NL wild card with 90 wins. Even then the Phillies would need to go 43-31 (.581) the rest of the way to tie.
Here is a look at the Phillies’ winning percentages following the All-Star break under Manuel and the starting pitcher they acquired before or just after the July 31 trade deadline:
- 2005: .589 (None)
- 2006: .600 (Jamie Moyer)
- 2007: .608 (Kyle Lohse)
- 2008: .606 (Joe Blanton)
- 2009: .592 (Cliff Lee)
- 2010: TBD (TBD)
Do the Phillies have the pitching for another strong finish, especially with the offense struggling compared to seasons past? No doubt that is why Amaro and Manuel keep saying they would prefer pitching help over infield help before the trade deadline.