There were big expectations behind the Phillies in the 2019 season, especially after signing Bryce Harper. Things didn’t work out quite the way the team expected, as they finished 81-81, which was fourth in the NL East.
They missed the postseason and have tried to gear up for another run at it in 2020. Didi Gregorius and Zack Wheeler were added to an already solid roster. So the expectation is to make the playoffs this season. It will just take a better effort from their rotation.
Here is a look at what the Phillies’ pitching rotation could look like if the season isn’t canceled due to COVID-19.
1) Aaron Nola
Nola has really come into his own the last few seasons. In the last two seasons specifically, Nola has posted a 29-13 record with over 200 innings pitched in each year. He made the All-Star Game in 2018 and has a career ERA of 3.49.
Last season, Nola went 12-7 in 34 starts. He had a 3.87 ERA and pitched 202.1 innings. The 27-year-old is entering his prime and will be able to lead the staff again this season.
He has never pitched in the postseason, but he has the capability to lead the staff and the team to get to that point this season.
2) Zack Wheeler
Wheeler was signed this offseason from the division-rival Mets to bolster the rotation. He has battled injuries in his career, has been relatively healthy the last few seasons. In his time with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 44-38 record and a 3.77 ERA.
In 2019, Wheeler posted a career-high in innings pitched with 195.1. He pitched decently, finishing with a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.96.
Like Nola, Wheeler has never pitched in the posteason, but he will be crucial in the Phillies’ quest to reach the playoffs.
3) Jake Arrieta
Arrieta hasn’t lived up to expectations over the last two seasons after signing with the Phillies. In his four and a half seasons with the Cubs, Arrieta was 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA. He won the Cy Young and helped the Cubs win the World Series.
In Philadelphia, things haven’t been quite as nice. He is 18-19 with a 4.26 ERA. There is hope that with the shortened season and the extra time to prepare for it will help Arrieta regain his form from his Chicago days.
The one valuable asset that Arrieta has going for him is his playoff experience. He has pitched in nine games with a 5-3 record and a 3.08 ERA. Arrieta is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in the World Series. If the Phillies can get to the postseason and Arrieta can prove that he is back to form this season, he can be trusted in big games.
4) Zach Eflin
Eflin is a young pitcher who has been on the mound a lot specifically the last two seasons. His results have been shaky with a 4.73 ERA and a 25-31 career record. He has improved though, especially last season.
In 2019, Eflin pitched a career-high 163.1 innings and had two complete games. His ERA of 4.13 was a career-best, while he notched double-digit wins, albeit with a losing record at 10-13.
He doesn’t have playoff experience, but Eflin will need to stay ready this season if the Phillies go on a tear and qualify for the postseason.
It is a three-man competition for the fifth-starter spot in the rotation between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Ranger Suarez. As of right now, that competition is still raging on. The Phillies seem decently high on all three arms, but Suarez has been the best at the big league level.
For his career, Suarez has a 7-2 record with a 3.68 ERA. Last season, he got 48.2 innings at the MLB level and had a 6-1 record and a 3.14 ERA. Overall his performances were better than anything else the Phillies have for the fifth spot in the rotation.
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