The top half of the Phillies starting rotation could be dangerous for opponents.
Before the signing of Zack Wheeler ahead of the 2020 season, the Phillies did not have any dependable pitchers beyond Aaron Nola in the rotation. Now, entering 2021, it seems like the 1-2-3 combo of Nola-Wheeler-Eflin should be dangerous for opposing hitters.
Despite a disappointing merry-go-round of Jake Arrieta, Vince Velasquez, and Spencer Howard in the fourth and fifth spots last year, the starting pitching was second in WAR and fifth in Quality Starts.
The additions of Matt Moore and Chase Anderson could prove to be vital for a “Red October” run. It cannot get much worse than the combination of Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez. It’s laughable, but if Anderson and Moore had ERAs better than 5.00 it would be a massive improvement.
Moore, who flourished in Japan, has been successful in the majors. In his spring debut, he flashed a lethal breaking ball and was throwing north of 95 miles per hour, according to Joe Girardi. If Moore can find that mix throughout the season, he will have a very impressive 2021. Moore also has postseason experience, reaching it three times in his career. During a recent in-game interview, Moore said he is “more comfortable” with his offspeed pitches, and throwing them in different counts. He also gave a nod to Caleb Cotham, the new Phillies pitching coach.
Anderson, a consistent pitcher throughout his career, looked impressive in his first spring training outing. He was much better as a starter than a reliever for Toronto in 2020, while boasting a career-high strikeout percentage and second his lowest walk rate.
If the Phillies can have even one of Moore and Anderson turn in a solid season, it will only take them that much further.