What's stuck out in the first cycle through Phillies' starting rotation


Overall, the first starts in a Phillies uniform for Chase Anderson and Matt Moore went pretty well.

Anderson threw 80 pitches in his Phillies debut Tuesday night, a loss to the Mets.

His line: 5 innings, 2 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts.

The runs came on a two-run homer Dom Smith crushed to left-center.

Some of Anderson’s curveballs were hammers, and he picked up strikeouts of Smith and Brandon Nimmo with changeups.

Few teams go five-deep in the rotation. You’re looking for competence and consistency out of that No. 5 spot in the rotation and this first start qualified as a little more than that. If the Phillies can get 28+ starts and an ERA around 4.00-4.20 from Moore and Anderson, they’ll take it. It would go a long way if they could get closer to 18 outs than 15. Moore did not make it out of the fourth inning of his first start after retiring the first seven hitters he faced.

Here are the numbers for the Phillies’ rotation one cycle through:

  • 29 IP, 31 K
  • 2.17 ERA
  • 0.83 WHIP
  • .165 opponents’ batting average
  • .225 opponents’ OBP
  • 3 HR allowed

Aaron Nola has established himself as one of the best in the National League, and it stands to reason that 30-year-old Zack Wheeler and 27-year-old Zach Eflin could have career years. They’re both healthy, armed with difference-making stuff and more confident than they’ve ever been from years of growth.

Wheeler struck out 10 in seven one-hit, scoreless innings in his season debut. His fast starts have been noticeable. They say you have to get to the good ones early. In 12 starts as a Phillie, Wheeler has allowed just one run in the first inning and three total in the first three innings of games, a 0.75 ERA. The velocity is so fluid and effortless, and oftentimes his opponents don't look ready for it at 7:15 p.m. It should keep him effective throughout this five-year, $118 million contract.

One turn through, things have gone the way the Phillies drew it up from a pitching perspective. The new-look, high-velo bullpen has thrived — though you can’t overlook Vince Velasquez' odyssey Tuesday — the rotation’s 1-2-3 dominated and the back of it held up. The pitching won’t be this good in each five-game sample, though the offense won’t be this quiet. The Phillies have two home runs in their first 43 innings with an OPS about 10% below the league average.

Again, five games. A team goes through its five-man staff 32 times per season. There will be periods the offense carries this team for a week or two or three. Very early on, it’s been the arms.

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