There are so many remarkable things to comment about with respect to the Phillies new rotation, and we are certainly going to bring you the best coverage of it possible in the coming days, months, and years. But one thing stands out to me while I'm still processing this stunning turn of events: durability.
The four aces the Phillies will send to the mound 4 out of every 5 games have been incredibly dependable over the past three years. Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but short of a guarantee, is there anything sweeter than this chart in terms of assessing the four's potential to pitch throughout the season?
These are the average games started and innings pitched for the four for each of the last three seasons. The only pitcher-season with less than 30 starts was Cliff Lee's 2010, when he began the season on the disabled list and didn't make his first start until the end of April. Nonetheless, he still threw 212.3 innings. All of the other 11 pitcher-seasons featured at least 30 starts.
The only pitcher-seasons with less than 200 innings were Cole Hamels' 2009 (193.7 innings over 32 starts) and Roy Oswalt's 2009 (181.3 innings over 30 starts). Each of the other 10 pitcher-seasons featured at least 208.7 innings pitched, with Roy Halladay besting the group with his 2010, when he threw 250.7 innings.
If you want durability, you have it with these four.
And if you want games featuring very little bullpen usage, you'll have that as well.