There are two main ways to judge a pitcher. You can look at his stats, or give him an eyeball test.
The Phillies five starters, through eight games, pass both assessments.
With an ERA of 2.87 and a 50-12 strikeout to walk ratio, surprisingly, the makeshift rotation that includes Jerad Eickhoff, Charlie Morton and Vincent Velasquez has been a top five staff so far this season.
The most impressive stat? The Phillies lead all of baseball in WAR with 1.3 just eight games in.
"I feel like we’re going to be in every game with the way our pitching has been," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday. "With the way our bullpen is shaping up, we’re pretty pleased with the way it looks."
After back-to-back implosions in Cincinnati to start the season the Phillies bullpen has calmed down too, giving the Phillies a 3-5 record that very easily could be 6-2 had a few bad bounces gone Philadelphia's way. With 17 strikeouts and no walks in two starts, Aaron Nola's fantastic efforts have gone winless. The Phillies season so far in a microcasm.
The offense is suspect however. With the pitching staff as a whole allowing four runs per game, right in the middle of the pack, they have scored just three runs per game in support, the third worst in MLB.
The Phillies hope the hitting will improve -- not only for the pitchers currently on the staff but for the deep pool of talent waiting in the wings in the minors to someday join young hitters like Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera.
"I'm really excited, not just for the team but for the organization as a whole," Morton said after his contribution to the Phillies 3-0 shutout win Tuesday. "There’s some guys in Triple-A that the future is really bright for the Phillies and also for this year. Having a starting rotation that can out there and have some effective innings. Granted, we’re not really deep into the season at all but it’s an exciting group for me to sit there and watch."
Reporting from Kyle Phillippi contributed to this story.