This past season, the Philadelphia Phillies missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006, which made me long for the World Series days of 2008. The offense was tremendous that season, but the pitching staff was suspect coming out of spring training.
Brett Myers moved from the closer’s role back to the rotation when the Phillies signed Brad Lidge from the Astros. There was no secret the Phillies wanted to bolster the starting rotation during the offseason and the Phillies opted for Myers instead of signing a free agent. Myers struggled as a starter for much of the year with poor pitch location and home runs allowed, but rebounded later in the year to become a solid man in the rotation.
Cole Hamels, the 24 year old left hander at the time, displayed all the stuff to be a star for many years to come. Very poised, with a low 90s fastball and a great changeup, he was very consistent for most of the season. He finished the season with 14 wins and a 3.09 earned run average. He also lead the league in innings pitched, won the MVP of the Championship Series
Jamie Moyer was a wonder at age 45, with a fastball barely topping out at 80 miles per hour, yet with his craftiness, experience, great location and a good changeup, he continued to keep the Phillies in just about every game he pitched. Moyer won a team high 16 games and compiled an earned run average of 3.71
Kyle Kendrick was another youngster that at times possessed great poise. With a fastball in the low 90s, and a sinkerball, he was a contact pitcher who was inconsistent with his location at times, which lead to a high earned run average of 5.49.
The Phillies started the season with Adam Eaton as the fifth starter, but he was a major disappointment and started just 21 games with an earned run average of 5.80. When both Eaton and Kendrick struggled, helped arrived from Oakland in the form of Joe Blanton. He finished with a 4-0 record with the Phillies, won the clinching game against Milwaukee in the National League Divisional Series, and a game against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
The bullpen was anchored by Brad Lidge. He came from the Houston Astros with a devastating slider and converted all 48 save opportunities during season, including the playoffs and World Series. His capped off a career season with a moment Phillies fans will never forget: a strikeout of Eric Hinske to win the World Series.
Ryan Madson started the season as a 7th inning pitcher but moved to the setup man when Tom Gordon went down with an injury. With Madson moving to the setup role, right hander Chad Durbin and left handed specialist J.C. Romero usually pitched in the 7th. Durbin and Romero combined for 9 wins, both with an earned run average under 3. Clay Condrey and Rudy Seanez provided some added depth in the middle innings.
Looking back on a part of the team that was a big question mark, I come to realize the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies pitching was very solid. The team had an earned run average of 3.88. In comparison, the 2012 Phillies staff loaded with big name pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, had an earned run average of 3.83.