It wasn’t inconceivable that at the end of the year, you could rank the Phillies Four Aces in any order. Sure, Halladay was Mr. Perfect last year and won a Cy Young, but Lee has won a Cy Young too, Cole Hamels was the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, and Oswalt has been one of the best pitchers in the game over the last decade.
In April, Manuel decided to set up the aces in his rotation as Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels. Now, with 62 games in the books and 100 to go, if we had to set the rotation in order of their performance this year, here’s how I’d do it.
1 – Halladay (13 starts)
8-3 / 2.56 ERA / 97 Strikeouts / 14 Walks / 98.1 Innings Pitched / 4 Complete Games
2 – Hamels (13 starts)
8-2 / 2.58 ERA / 91 Strikeouts / 18 Walks / 90.2 Innings Pitched / 1 Complete Game
3 – Lee (13 starts)
5-5 / 3.62 ERA / 100 Strikeouts / 20 Walks / 87 Innings Pitched / 1 Complete Game
4 – Oswalt (10 starts)
3-4 / 3.05 ERA / 33 Strikeouts / 14 Walks / 56 Innings Pitched / 0 Complete Games
If the season ended today, and the Phillies only needed three starters in the postseason, Oswalt would be an attractive option in the bullpen. He could give you innings and a different look coming in after leftys like Hamels, Lee or Bastardo. He gave up the winning run last year in an NLCS game against San Francisco out of the bullpen, but that was an emergency appearance. If he is told he’s going to be a reliever, and he prepares that way, he could be quite effective.
But, the season is only 38 percent done. A lot can still change. For now, Halladay and Hamels might be each others biggest competition for the 2011 NL Cy Young Award.