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Braves Phillies Rotation Breakdown

By: Daniel Lumpkin
Here is a look at how the Atlanta Braves starting rotation has measured up to the Philadelphia Phillies rotation so far. In case you have not heard, the Phillies were busy moving and shaking this offseason in order to create arguably the best starting rotation ever compiled. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton were projected to be the most dangerous starters on one team and the expectations on these five men were very high. Expectations included…

1.) Winning 100 games. (That one should be pretty easy for these guys, right?)

2.) Team leads entire league in every pitching category. (Again, easy)

3.) Someone throws a perfect game. (Not easy, but still expected)

4.) Winning 200 games. (Highly impossible… but the season isn’t over)

5.) All five starters win the Cy Young Award. (Again, impossible)

6.) They cure cancer. (His nickname is ‘Doc’ for a reason)

7.) Every game they throw will be a perfect game and no team will even be able to compete.

Clearly some of these were exaggerations. But throughout the offseason and spring training, I got really tired of hearing how perfect these guys were going to be. Everybody thought the Phillies won the NL East before the season even started. Can any other team compete? Maybe Boston or the Yankees, no one in the same division though. The Atlanta Braves starting rotation flew under everyone’s radar as one of the best in the game. Here is a breakdown of pitching statistics for the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies.

WINS

Phillies – Tied for 1st – 25

Braves – Tied for 2nd - 24

LOSSES

Phillies – 2nd lowest – 15

Braves – Tied for 5th lowest – 19

ERA

Phillies – 3rd – 3.13

Braves – 2nd – 2.94

SHUTOUTS

Phillies – Tied for 1st – 6

Braves – Tied for 1st – 6

HITS

Phillies – 6th lowest – 319

Braves – 2nd lowest – 311

HOME RUNS ALLOWED

Phillies – Tied for 4th – 25

Braves – Tied for 4th – 25

BASES ON BALLS

Phillies – 1st – 111

Braves – 3rd – 114

STRIKE OUTS

Phillies – 2nd – 332

Braves – 1st – 343

A simple tally score shows that the Phillies beat the Braves in three categories (Wins, Losses and Base on Balls) but the Braves beat the Phillies in three categories (ERA, Hits and Strike Outs) and both teams are tied in two categories (Shutouts and Home Runs Allowed).

Now, first impressions say that the Phillies have the better staff. They have more wins, fewer losses, and walk the opposition less. The first two statistics speak more about an overall team rather than a pitching staff though. The Phillies have a better batting (.252 – Tied for 11th in the league) compared to the Braves (.244 – 14th in the league). This results in the Phillies being in first place right now simply because Atlanta’s bats are just now heating up in the 7th week of the season.

The Braves are leading in the three categories that really speak about pitching performance. Teams are having more trouble scoring runs and getting hits on Atlanta compared to Philadelphia (and the rest of the league, really).

If the Atlanta Braves can keep their staff healthy and be more consistent hitters, they will be the best team in the NL East. Their numbers right now prove that they have the best starting rotation in baseball.

* All stats compiled on May 17, 2011

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