Here’s hoping last night’s O’s didn’t cost the Phillies a lot more than a nickel.

An ankle injured kept Cole Hamels from making it out of the fifth inning last night as the Phillies won their fifth-straight game. What he did do before he left, though, was keep the Nationals off the board. For the Phillies it was the first time this season that their starting pitcher did not allow a run in a game.

Phillies’ starters have held opponents under three runs in just three of 19 games this season. Two of those were games pitched by Hamels in which he left with an injury before the end of the fifth inning. By comparison, in 2008 Phillies starters allowed less than three runs in 76 of the team’s 162 starts (about 47%). You win a lot when you’re starting pitching holds the other team to less than three runs — the Phillies went 55-21 in those games.

As well as things have been going for the Phils, the starting pitching has been a mess. It started out bad and hasn’t gotten a lot better.

Brett Myers allowed four runs over six innings on opening day. At the end of the game the Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year had a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. The bad news is that things have gone up from there — a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio are both the best marks for the starting pitchers as a group at the end of a game for the season.

The chart below shows the ERA and ratio for Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year at the end of each game of the season so far. The blue line is ERA and the red line is ratio.

era_rat.jpg

Again, the team’s ERA and ratio for the starting pitchers for the season has yet to dip under the 6.00 ERA and 1.50 ratio from the first game of the season.

After 19 games, Phillies starters have a 6.46 ERA, which is the worst of any team in either league. Their ratio is 1.67. They have walked just 34, which is the lowest number of walks issued by an NL team. The 28 home runs and 136 hits they have allowed are both the worst marks of any NL team.

Hamels says he doesn’t expect to miss a start. While I’m sure the Phillies respect his medical opinion, I’m guessing they’ll involve a healthcare professional at some point.

This article points out that the Phils could use a long outing by Myers tonight. With Lidge sidelined and Durbin having thrown 42 pitches last night, it may mean that Madson and Condrey are the only right-handed relievers available to the Phillies tonight. Myers also threw 119 pitches in his last start, which is the most by any Phillies’ pitcher this season.

The situation would be a lot worse if Durbin hadn’t been so fantastic last night.