Phillies history: Franchise’s top five rotations since the 1970s

Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 8: Von Hayes #9, Pete Rose #14, Marty Bystrom #50 and Mike Schmidt #20 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate in the locker room after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3 games to 1 in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on October 8, 1983 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images) /

No. 3: 1983 (Steve Carlton, John Denny, Charles Hudson, Marty Bystrom, Kevin Gross, Larry Christenson)

Three seasons after the first World Series title in franchise history, the “Wheeze Kids,” made up of veterans near the end of their careers made an incredible run to win the NL Championship. While Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Mike Schmidt, Gary Matthews, Garry Maddox, Tony Perez, Ron Reed, and other wily vets lead the team on the field, the pitching staff more than held its own. A Cy Young Award came from the starting rotation, and it wasn’t from a man named Carlton.

John Denny, in his second season with the Phillies, lead the league in wins with 19, posted a 2.37 ERA and had a career-high 242 2/3 innings pitched. His previous high in wins was 14 with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978.  Denny was a very unlikely, but well-deserving Cy Young Award winner, earning 20 of 24 first-place votes.

Steve Carlton, coming off a Cy Young Award season in 1982,  won 15 games, completed eight, had three shutouts, led the league in innings pitched with 283 2/3 and strikeouts with 275. Carlton’s strikeout total nearly doubled that of Denny, ranked second on the team.

Charles Hudson posted an 8-8 mark with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 169 1/3 innings. Marty Bystrom and 22-year old Kevin Gross combined to win 10 in 40 starts with an ERA near four.  Injury-prone Larry Christenson struck out 42 in 44 1/3 innings with a 3.91 ERA in his final Major League season at the age of 29.

As a staff, the 1983 Phillies led the NL in strikeouts and second in ERA, while ranking fifth in fewest home runs allowed.