By: Pete Caceci
It seems that the days of having a starting pitcher last the entire game are coming to an end. Several factors like the pitch count, and how people throw at a much faster speed going into the first inning, are limiting their time on the mound. If you are a Phillies fan, the situation is that we do not have a pitcher that can last in today’s game, along with being able to trust them to do their job consistently. One pitcher that every current Phillies pitcher should highlight, and study should always be the great Steve Carlton.
A legend on the field, this two-time World Series winner had a crusade of a season in 1972. To start off, this was Carlton’s first season in Philly, and despite the inadequate team he had around him, he made sure that he was going to push the 59-97 team as far as he could. “Lefty” started 41 games of the entire season and completed 30 of them, while having an ERA of 1.95. The statistics keep piling on though everyone. Throughout this season, he had a record of 27-10 and striking out 310 batters in 346.1 innings. I challenge any reader of this article to find a player in today’s game that could equal this success or pass it.
The actions of Steve Carlton did not go unnoticed by the conclusion of the 1972 season, as he would win the Cy Young award, made the all-star team for the National League, and obtained the triple crown in pitching (lead the league in strikeouts, wins, and having the lowest ERA). This man was feared by the entire league, especially by other baseball legends like Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver. Fans would show up knowing their team was most likely going to lose but come to watch Carlton show his magic. Just imagine if the Phillies this season had an ace like this on the team, to be able to depend on one man to stop opposing sluggers from racking up runs. Not only would he be unstoppable, but it would rejuvenate both the remaining starters and bullpen.
Now, I realize that the Phillies will most likely never have another pitcher like Steve Carlton in their ranks again. On the other hand, we have been since blessed with such stars like Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Curt Schilling. These players though come once a decade, and their style of play does not match what currently happens. If I was Chris Young, the current pitching coach, I would have the pitchers alter their play and have them try to throw intricate pitches that move more at a slower speed. This will cut down not only the time of the game for changing pitchers but will also prevent our injury-ridden bullpen from blowing a lead in crucial parts of the game.
This team, as the rest of the fanbase knows, has a tremendous amount of skill that can be dangerous to the opposition. Unfortunately, I do not think that we harness that ability to adequately train and push these players to reach that limit. Will the team have another miracle like Steve Carlton in their ranks again, a person who consistently wins above all aspects? I do not know, and again with this style of erratic pitching from our starters, it may be awhile before we do.
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