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Fan trash talk: The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff is better than the Philadelphia Phillies rotation
Cliff Lee(notes) stunned Major League Baseball by scorning the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees and choosing the Philadelphia Phillies as his next home. Cliff Lee will join Roy Halladay(notes), Cole Hamels(notes), Roy Oswalt(notes) and Joe Blanton(notes), and many baseball fans think that it will be one of the greatest pitching staffs in the history of baseball.
I don't think the Phillies' pitching rotation will even be the best in the state of Pennsylvania. That's right, I've got five reasons why the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation is better than the Philadelphia Phillies.
Oh sure, Cliff Lee went 22-3 one season, Roy Halladay has led the league in complete games four years in a row. Roy Oswalt is one of the most underrated pitcher in the past 10 years, and Cole Hamels strikes out a lot of batters, but you know what else they are? Expensive. A gaudy $9.5 million for Cole Hamels? Roy Oswalt is making $16 million each of the next two years? Cliff Lee is making $11 million this year, and Roy Halladay is making $20 million! Throw in Joe Blanton's $8.5 million and that's a total of $65 million!
You know what $65 million will get you? You could buy 20 Kevin Correia's(notes) for that much and still have enough money left over for at least two Ross Ohlendorf's.(notes) Do you know what the Pirates' pitching staff will make in 2011? No, seriously, I'm asking you because I don't know. Their starters aren't important enough to have their salaries on Baseball-Reference.com. Anyway, I know that spending $65 million on your pitching staff won't work. The Pirates' entire team costs half that much and they lost 105 games last year. That means the Phillies pitching staff will lose 210 games next year.
The Pirates are also better than the Phillies because they have way better nicknames. Roy-O? Lame! Doc Halladay? That doesn't even make sense. His name was Holliday, not Halladay. And Coleslaw is just awful. OK, I made up that last one but I'm sure Hamels doesn't have a nickname better than that.
Ross Ohlendorf alone has as many nicknames as the Phillies. He sometimes goes by "Boss", "Mr. Wonderful", "Dorf" and "Ohley". Kevin Correira also has the nickname of "Birdman". Then there is the fifth starter Charles Morton. His nickname is Charlie! Genius!
Another reason the Pirates pitching staff is better than the Phillies is because the Pirates are younger. The Phillies starters are 32 (Lee), 33 (Halladay), 33 (Oswalt), 27 (Cole Hamels) and 30 (Joe Blanton). The Pittsburgh starters are 26 (James McDonald(notes)), 28 (Paul Maholm(notes)), 30 (Correira), 28 (Ohlendorf) and 27 (Morton). The Phillies average age is 31! What a bunch of geezers. I hope they have some extra walkers in the Phillies dugout. You might be thinking, "yeah, but the Phillies have more experience and the Pirates don't." Let me ask you this, though: Who would you rather have playing center field, Andrew McCutchen(notes) or your 90-year-old grandpa? Point proven.
Listen, the Phillies are a great pitching staff, but they are also overrated. Cole Hamels was supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced Philly cheesesteak bread. He's been good but never as good as he was supposed to be. Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008 but in two seasons since then he has gone 14-13 and 12-9. Lee was only 4-6 after the Rangers acquired him last year. Oswalt only went 13-13 last season and had an ERA over 4.00 the year before that. Admittedly Halladay is great, but the Phillies are paying him $80 to play until he is 37 years old.
The Pirates pitching staff, on the other hand, are most definitely not as overrated as the Phillies. I know the Pirates pitching staff isn't overrated. They can't be, because nobody even rates them. You can't be overrated if you're not even rated!
Finally, the Pirates pitching staff is just smarter. Halladay, Oswalt and company make good decisions on the baseball field but Ross Ohlendorf went to Princeton. Ohlendorf, or "Ohley" if you prefer, got a perfect 800 score on the math portion of his SAT. For his 126-page thesis "Mr. Wonderful" examined the top 100 picks from the 1989 to 1993 MLB drafts. "Boss" then tracked the progress of each player for a 12-year period and determined the value of the picks. Ohlendorf's thesis was so good that he got an Associate Membership to the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.
But hey, at least Cole Hamels has a great circle change-up.
All stats were found at Baseball-Reference.com
Tim Kurkjian, Tim Kurkjian: Pittsburgh Pirates' Ross Ohlendorf on 'a different level', ESPN.com
The last several generations of Lee Andrew Henderson's family were Pittsburgh born and even though he was born in Alabama he has been a long time fan of the Pirates, Steelers and Panthers.
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