Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies is the ace on most other staffs. What other MLB clubs have heavily-armed starters, like the red pinstripes? Off the top of your head, what teams pop into your mind immediately? Have any of them changed since 2011?
Penthouse Occupancy for the 2-1 outcome: 4
The Crystal Champagne Toast is a salute to Freddy Galvis for his leather wares.
A 1st-inning sac-bunt out of the 3 hole blossomed for Greenhouse Cholley. Jimmy Rollins accomplished the mission despite the 3rd sacker in, and Hunter Pence plated run one. The manager, also, got a clean frame late out of Kyle Kendrick.
Freddy Galvis employed a sliding grab to display his glove work in the Warehouse during the 3rd. He also made a spectacular catch and a seat-of-his-pants throw in the next inning.
Kendrick polished off a 1-2-3 seventh for House Cleaning.
I will publish after every battle that is not washed out. The Phillies finished last summer 42 games over .500, which equaled a year of many positives. I will have many season-long highlights of puzzle pieces, especially important after drubbings and defeats.
The Arms Race:
The best 5-man units in the MLB after the Phillies weren’t hard to figure out last April. They consisted of the Giants, Brewers, Dodgers and Sox, because Cardinal Adam Wainwright was disabled early on in camp. I did not anticipate that 2012 would be this difficult to decipher. That said, the other 4 organizations started with San Francisco, Milwaukee, Los Angeles (AL) and St. Louis. Again, the Cards had a front-line hurler with a broken wing, which–this time–is a nerve issue that could erase a lot or all of this tour. Chris Carpenter could return in May, June or next summer. This physical malady has derailed him before: He made 8 appearances in 2007 and 2008 combined. Plus, Wainwright has not pitched since 2010. This left many franchises that were less appealing to pick from, but I did so with unusual reasoning.
Los Angeles (NL) dropped Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland, replacing them with 2 veterans. Chris Capuano has a recent history of injuries, and Aaron Harang had solid numbers in a cavernous stadium. Boston has 3 solid studs in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz. However, Beckett alternates good and bad campaigns, while Buchholz had difficulties in the 2nd half of ‘11. The Phils, Giants and the Brew Crew return with a few changes. Roy Oswalt is still available and Joe Blanton is healthy, while Vance Worley opens the year in Pittsburgh. Jonathan Sanchez was traded and Barry Zito will work at the end of the rotation. Only Milwaukee has the same mound denizens.
The Halos have added C.J Wilson to Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. The Cardinals looked solid until Carpenter had his nerve issue re-emerge. Everybody loves the Rays but a lot is based on a limited resume. David Price, like most young guns, saw his stats become less awesome, while Wade Davis failed to make the starting staff. James Shields and Price form a formidable punch, while Jeremy Hellickson will enter his sophomore tour. Matt Moore has 3 MLB regular-season outings (2 relief) under his belt, and Jeff Niemann is a four.
The other squad is the Yankees with 7 wings for 5 slots. C.C. Sabathia, Kuroda and Andy Pettitte present a solid track record. Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda are 2 youngsters with big upsides, while Phil Hughes or Freddy Garcia are decent alternatives. Granted, Pettitte and Pineda might hit the wall, but I have more confidence in Pettitte than the lightly experienced throwers on both AL East contenders. That would be Hellickson, Moore, Davis, Nova and Pineda. However, it was not a coin flip; it was the feeling that New York and Philly might meet in the Fall Classic. This way I could get a real close look at their arms and know what to expect. I confess to some wishful thinking. I grew up after the locals had been swept in the 1950 World Series, and had waited my entire life for the ‘09 matchup. For once, I want to experience the victorious side of that tournament against them, and I’m not alone in that hope.
Points are in reverse order: A 1 (5), a 2 (4), a 3 (3), a 4 (2) & a 5 (1) with the total (T) at the bottom
[table id=114 /]
If needed, the replacement for
**Jerome Williams, ***Shaun Marcum & ****Andy Pettitte (required)
He excelled in his rookie campaign but now comes the hard part. He has been exposed to the competition and they will make the necessary adjustments. When April ends, we’ll be able to envision his ‘12 potential more accurately.
[table id=121 /]
He has a tendency toward wildness and has to wiggle out of multiple jams. That said, he was considerably better at home with a 3.12 ERA versus a 5.42 road ERA. He had 19 of his 37 starts at PNC Park. However, his control was suspect there also.
[table id=84 /]
Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 for the less adventurous.
[table id=85 /]
[table id=115 /]
[table id=82 /]
The preview of the next Nitecap Insight (1st paragraph) will be at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook; it is Nitecap Insight: Aces Loaded. Join for notification of future glimpses, which will be almost daily. You’ll also know immediately when my isportsweb post goes up. It might be worth your while because I have seen delays of 2 hours on feeds.
Check out my previous publication (The Rematch), and the 20 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo.
Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. The 2012 MLB 5 will also include the Giants, Halos, Brewers and Yankees. I am alternating the 2012 ERA For The NL East and the 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page, because feeds are erratic at times.