MLB: Ranking the Top 7 Starting Rotations in Baseball

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6- Philadelphia Phillies- Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan

March 7, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Is it the end of the road for the Phillies, or do the gray beards of the NL East have one more magic season in them? A year after leading all of baseball with 102 wins in 2011, the Phillies looked old and injured all throughout 2012, finishing a very disappointing 81-81.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee had their worst seasons in red pinstripes and Fightin’s watch the pups from Washington grab their NL East crown. Some might call me crazy but I expect a huge bounce back from the Phillies and it all starts with Roy Halladay. Last season Doc was never himself, he only started 25 games and had an ERA over 4; this season I think he reverts back to the more usual Halladay stats of over 200 innings pitched and an ERA a shade under 3.00.

Cole Hamels has been brilliant since he put on a Phillies uniform and I can’t think of any reason for that to change, one of my more drastic predictions for this season is that Hamels throws a no-hitter. People who only look at win-loss records as a way to judge if a pitcher had a good year will tell you Cliff Lee was terrible last season.

Don’t listen to those people. Yes, Lee was 6-9 but he also had an ERA of 3.16, pitched over 200 innings, struck out 207 and only gave up 28 walks. Lee is a stud and could be the ace of almost any rotation. The two wild cards are the guys rounding out the four and five spots, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan. Both have proven they can pitch like top talent starters and both have showed they can pitch like guys who belong in Triple A. I’m going to lean toward the former with both starters this season; Kendrick was good out of the bullpen and as a spot starter in 2012 and Lannan is pitching for revenge after being told he wasn’t good enough to crack the ultra-talented Nationals rotation last season. Expect both guys to have seasons with ERAs in the low 4’s or high 3’s with just below 200 innings pitched.