In recent posts I have pointed out that in each of the last two years, Phillies starters have thrown at least 70% of the total innings pitched by the team. They’ve also thrown at least 1,000 innings each of the past two years.
To get 1,000 innings from your starting pitchers over 162 games, they need to average about 6.17 innings per start.
Will the starters throw 1,000 innings again in 2012? They’re going to need to keep Halladay, Hamels and Lee healthy and making a whole lot of starts if they are. In 2011, Hallady and Lee combined to make 64 starts and throw 466 1/3 innings. That’s about 7.29 innings per start. In the other 98 games, starters averaged 6.11 innings per start. 6.11 innings per start over 162 games is about 990 innings.
In 2011, Halladay, Hamels and Lee combined to make 95 starts in which they threw 682 1/3 innings (7.18 innings per start). Pitchers other than that trio combined to make 67 starts and threw 382 innings, which is 5.70 innings per start.
Hamels was the member of that group who threw the fewest innings per start in 2011 and he went about 6.87 — if your starters averaged 6.87 innings per start over 162 games, they would throw about 1,113 over 162 starts. As I mentioned above, the non-Halladay, Lee and Hamels starters for the Phils in 2011 averaged 5.70 innings per start. 5.70 innings per start over 162 games is 923 innings from your starting pitchers — that would have been 16th of the 16 NL teams in 2011 (as it was, the Pirates were the team that saw their starters go the fewest number of total innings at 923 1/3).
Roy Oswalt won’t be a Phillie in 2012, at least not to start the year, which seems sure to be a blow to the total number of innings thrown by the starters for the year. Oswalt was well off his career mark for innings pitched per start in 2011, but still averaged 6.04 innings in his 23 starts, a mark that was fourth-best on the team behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels.
It’s not going to happen, but the point for today is that if you wanted to make a case for Joel Piniero in the rotation for the Phils, a big part of it would likely be that he is a good bet to go a lot deeper into games than Worley or Kendrick.
Here’s a look at some of the guys who we could see starting games for the Phillies this year as well as for the former Phil Oswalt. Guys that have been in both the AL and NL have separate entries for their career and NL-only.
First of all, none of those guys on the list comes very close to going as deep into games as Oswalt does. But Piniero is the closest. Piniero was terrible last year, throwing to a 5.10 ERA over his 24 starts and going about 5.74 innings per start. In 2010, though, Piniero averaged 6.62 innings per start over his 23 outings for the Angels while throwing to a 3.84 ERA.
Kendrick doesn’t have much chance to start the year in the rotation barring an injury, but he does seem a good bet to start some games for the Phils this year. In 2011 he started 15 and went 5.53 innings per start, a little worse than his career mark of 5.59.
The rotation to start the year is almost likely to be Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Worley. As mentioned above, Halladay, Lee and Hamels are a pretty fantastic trio to have at the top of the rotation if you’re looking to have your starters pitch deep into games. Aside from who’s going to be healthy and stay healthy, the real questions in the rotation for the Phils are Blanton and Worley.
Last year Blanton made eight starts for the Phils and threw an average of 4.79 innings per start. This misleading, though. He made a small number of starts and two of them were starts by committee at the end of the year when he had been pitching out of the bullpen in which he threw two innings. If Blanton doesn’t go close to or more than six innings a start in 2012, it’s going to be a symptom of a bigger problem. Other symptoms will be a ballooning era and a bunch of guys from the other team running around and around the bases.
Worley, though, is another matter. He went 5.95 innings per start last year and I think it’s likely he’ll be near that mark or worse in 2012. There is, of course, an issue with the age of the pitcher and the number of innings they throw per start. A good example of that is Dave Bush’s career and NL numbers, which show he has thrown more innings per start in the NL than he has in the DH-loving American League. A big part of that was the workload management he saw early in his career — for example, with the Blue Jays in 2005 at age 25, Bush thew just 134 innings in 24 starts, or about 5.58 innings per start. Those numbers may have more to do about not wanting to push him too hard at an early age than the number of innings he could have thrown.
The Phils play Florida State this afternoon. This from the Phillies web site says that righty Austin Hyatt will start with Utley, Ruiz and Polanco not in the starting lineup. The lineup posted in that article suggests Pierre will DH, Brown will play left and Wigginton third with Mayberry at first and Martinez at second.
If I get one wish for Spring Training it’s that nobody gets hurt. If I get two wishes, number two is that Domonic Brown tears it up.
Ryan Howard saw a foot surgeon yesterday.
Shane Victorino sure seems to want to stay in Philadelphia.