Phillies success = pitching
The Phils have turned it around on the mound.
It's all about pitching. It always has been. We get distracted sometimes when Ryan Howard and Chase Utley hit the ball to Camp Pendleton, but it is about Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer and Brad Lidge and the rest of them. The pitchers are the reason the Phillies won the World Series last year and they will be the explanation for whatever happens to the Phillies this season.
Some numbers, then.
Through the first 39 games of the season, the team ERA was 5.33.
In the last 10 games, the team ERA was 3.65.
In the first 39 games, the Phils walked 3.8 players per game.
In the last 10 games, they walked 2.0 players per game.
There are obviously questions to come, beginning tonight against San Diego with Antonio Bastardo starting his first game and Brad Lidge unlikely to be able to close (given that he has saves in the last four days). The only point is that, if the Phillies can continue to get this kind of pitching another time or two through the rotation, a lot of the pressure to go out and get another starting pitcher quickly will dissipate. They're going to have to get somebody to replace Brett Myers, and everybody agrees on that. But there is a difference between being anxious and being desperate, and it would greatly behoove the franchise not to be desperate -- because desperate teams gut their farm systems to bring in pitchers, and the Phillies should be in a position where they pay top dollar but not turn their pockets inside-out.
In the bridge between now and the arrival of that pitcher, that is what this all means.