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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do The Phillies Have The Best Pitching Staff In Baseball?

By David

The Phillies made a multitude of changes to their starting rotation this off season, but not enough to win best pitching staff in baseball. Still, Philadelphia does have the best pitching staff in the NL East and in my estimation they are the team to beat in that division.

During the off season, Phili traded for right-hander Freddy Garcia and the Venezuelan native comes to the city of brotherly love with an abundance of talent. Last year he won 17 games, but posted a disappointing 4.53 ERA. His ERA increased by over half a run from the previous season. One of the positive attributes of Garcia's game is that he's a work horse. The 30-year old has pitched 444 innings during the past two seasons. In acquiring Garcia, Philadelphia is looking upon him to be their ace and that will be a lot of pressure for him to handle.

Righty Brett Myers will be entering his sixth season with the Phils and the team is looking upon him for a breakout season after giving him a large contract extension. Myers agreed to a three-year, $25.75 million extension during the off season. He won 13 games in 05' and 12 games last season. This needs to be the year when he wins 15-16 games and has an ERA under 4.

Cole Hamels is the gem of the Phillies pitching staff and at 23, he will be an intrical part of the teams success for years to come. He is regarded as one of the best young left-handers in the game and if he can demonstrate his talent this season, Philadelphia could make it to the playoffs for the first time since 93'.

Adam Eaton signed a three-year, $24.5 million contract during the off season. After a disappointing 2006 campaign with Texas where he only won 7 games and had an ERA above five, there will be many question marks surrounding Eaton. He has never won more than 11 games in a season or have an ERA under 4. Pitching at Citizens Bank Park won't aid his cause either.

Left-hander Jamie Moyer is the veteran of the staff at 44, but despite his age he can still help the Phillies win. More importantly, he can help out youngsters Brett Myers and Cole Hamels become better pitchers. Lastly, Jon Lieber is officially slatted in as the sixth starter on the team but management would love to trade him before the season starts.

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