Pitching wins games, so here are the staffs that will be baring the brunt of the workload in the NL East in 2011.
*Stats: W-L, Games Started, Innings Pitched, ERA/WHIP, BB:K. "Backups" are not part of the combined stats for each rotation's starting 5.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton.
Backup Plans: Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley.
67-49, 154 GS, 1059 IP, 3.17/1.20, 207:942.
A ton has been written about them already, so I'll keep it short and sweet. This rotation is friggin' awesome! I'm still in shock that R2C2 are heading the Phillies staff this season. Is it real or just a dream? Guess we'll have to wait until the season starts to find out.
2. Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, and Mike Minor.
Backup Plans: Brandon Beachey, Rodrigo Lopez, and Kenshin Kawakami.
53-40, 129 GS, 782 IP, 3.68/1.27, 244:577.
The top 3 are solid, with Hanson still developing; and if Jurrjens can stay healthy an entire season and Minor continues to progress, this staff will be quite good.
3. Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Anibal Sanchez.
Backup Plans: Sean West, Alex Sanabia, and Adalberto Mendez.
60-46, 142 GS, 868.2 IP, 3.99/1.31, 276:713.
Josh Johnson is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Thing is he has to get the ball every 5 days to be productive, which is something he's found to be difficult due to nagging injuries. The rest of the staff is good and because of them the Fish will remain competitive all season long. Note- expect a bounce back year from Vazquez.
4. New York Mets
Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, RA Dickey, and Chris Young.
Backup Plans: Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee, and Jenrry Mejia.
48-37, 122 GS, 771 IP, 3.35/1.29, 238:524.
Great earned run average from this group, but, and this is a huge Oprah in her hay-day sized but, they're injured, injury prone, or unproven. Pelfrey is good, the rest are question marks. Darth Santana will start the season on the DL. Young hasn't been healthy since the Bush administration. Dickey could be a 1-hit wonder. Niese is...well, Niese might end up being good too. To be fair/unbiased, this staff has the ability to surprise a lot of people this year and keep the Metropolitans around sea level.
5. Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Tom Gorzelanny, and Jordan Zimmermann.
Backup Plans: Yunesky Maya, Craig Stammen, Luis Atilano, and Ross Detwiler.
28-40, 101 GS, 581 IP, 4.37/1.46, 215:362. Out of this group, Zimmermann is the only one to keep an eye on. Livan had fluke success last year, Lannan and Gorzelanny are mediocre, and Marquis is too easy to hit. Until (if?) Strasburg recuperates, this rotation is complete bleh.
*A collection of female Phils Phans too hot for regular WSBGMs readership.