Before the year started, everyone thought that the Philadelphia Phillies had the best pitching in baseball and were a shoe-in to win the NL East. They were right. Saturday behind a complete game from Cole Hamels, the Phillies ran their winning streak to nine games with a 2-1 victory over the now hated rival San Francisco Giants. Philadelphia is now 74-39 (.655), 9.5 games up on the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with the best record in MLB on pace to win more than 106 games.
The Phillies had lost two of three games to the Giants late last month at home causing at least this one writer to opine that San Francisco and not, Philadelphia had the best pitching staff in MLB. That series followed last season’s National League Championship Series, in which the Giants upset the Phillies on their way to winning the World Series. Had the Phillies stumbled again this week, there would have been legitimate concerns about their ability to beat the Giants.
Although it’s just one week later, perhaps it’s already time for me to issue a mea culpa of sorts as Philadelphia has outscored San Francisco 14-3 so far in the first three games of the four game series, pretty much putting the theory to rest that the Giants were in their heads. And while on July 29th the Giants had the best ERA in MLB at 3.06 and the Phillies were at 3.11, as Sunday, August 7th rolls around, it is the Phillies with a 3.06 team ERA and the Giants with a 3.19. While I may have been guilty of jumping to conclusions about the Giants being ability to outpitch the Phillies on a regular bases (still not convinced I’d be wrong if they matched up in the playoffs btw, but for now I’ll concede to avoid more Philly hate mail as it’s not certain that Giants will even make the playoff), one thing that I do not have issue a mea culpa for is my opinion that Cole Hamels has a great shot to win the NL Cy Young this year. This is something that I’ve been harping on since preseason. Check out Hamels’ 2011 numbers juxtaposed next to his two Cy Young candidate teammates.
Hamels has the lowest ERA, the lowest batting average against and the lowest WHIP. For those of you less versed in pitching metrics, in short this means that Hamels allows the least base runners on base per 9 innings and the least amount of players to cross home plate as well. To me, Hamels has the inside track on the NL Cy Young award. If he doesn’t win it, is simply because the three guys end up stealing votes from eachother.
The over / under on the time allotted to play the Yankees vs. Red Sox three game series this weekend was 10 hours. Game one clocked in at 3:25, game two was played in 3:26. When I do my Mike-math, that totals 6:31 leaving 3:29 as the boggy for Sunday night’s contest. Garcia vs. Beckett tonight at 8pm ET. This one is going to be close.
And how about the AL MVP year Jacoby Ellsbury is having; we knew he had the speed, but where did the power come from? He beat the Yankees himself on Saturday with a three run HR and six RBI! Ellsbury is now on pace to hit .321 with 75 extra-base hits, 27 HRs, 122 RS, 104 RBI and 45 SBs. At the very least, the guy should win the RotoExperts Fantasy Baseball Player of the Year Award.
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