BY STEVE WILDMAN, Staff Writer
If you look up preseason statistics, you’ll notice that, as of today, the Phillies rank first so far in pitching ERA.
Does anyone remember the last time a Phillies team led the NL in team ERA at the end of a full regular season? Here’s a hint: The starting rotation that year consisted of Robin Roberts (Hall of Fame), Curt Simmons (Phillies Wall of Fame), Karl Drews, and Russ Meyer.
Yes, the last time the Phillies led the league in team ERA, teams only employed four starting pitchers in their rotations.
The year was 1952 (Elvis hadn’t even released his first single yet!) This seems pretty amazing considering some of pitchers/teams the Phillies have had for the past almost 60 years. But according to Baseball-Reference.com, these are the facts.
The discussion now becomes if this will translate into regular season success for the staff in 2010, or if it even matters. Last year, the Phillies ranked 6th in the NL for team ERA, and they ranked 4th during their 2008 championship season. The 1952 team that finished 1st in team ERA didn’t even win the pennant that year.
A lot of fans/media types are expecting the Phils staff to be better than it was last year, and they’ll probably end up being correct. With the starters looking phenomenal so far this spring, and the bullpen holding up as well, it’s safe to say that the team can improve on their number six ranking as a staff from last year.
It’s only March 14th, however, and preseason team statistics are often dominated by performances of players who we most likely won’t see in the Majors during the regular season anyway. Also, does anyone care if their team ERA is 9.00 if the team can score 10 runs a game and finish the season with 95-100 wins?
This, of course, is a little extreme. But with so much talk about Roy Halladay’s work ethic, Cole Hamels’ improved curve ball and new cutter, JA Happ trying to stave off a sophomore slump, and the Kendrick/Moyer competition, at the end of the day, it’s all about the W’s, baby.