NL East Starting Pitching Thus Far

The Mets starting rotation, besides Johan Santana, had an awful first month of the season.  This fact has been covered extensively, here, here, and here.  However, in the last week, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and Livan Hernandez have each made encouraging starts.  How does the Mets pitching staff stack up against the rest of the NL East?  Here are the NL East rotations ranked by pitching runs above average (pRAA, via Statcorner) and a few words on each:

Team pRAA
Braves 10.8
Marlins -2.3
Mets -3.5
Nationals -18.1
Phillies -27.3

Braves - Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, and Jo-Jo Reyes have been terrific so far.  Lowe's groundball % (GB%) is slightly lower than usual, but his strikeouts are up and his line-drive % (LD%) is predictably spectacular.  Vazquez's only major blemish was his meeting with Carlos Beltran and David Wright this past Monday.  Reyes's 3.68 FIP is probably unsustainable, and his fastball is down two mph since 2007.  Jair Jurrjens has been solid as well, although his 1.89 ERA is misleading when considering defense independent pitching stats.

Marlins - Josh Johnson has been simply dominant.  Using his 95 mph fastball, he's striking guys out, not walking many, and inducing groundballs at a strong rate.  Ricky Nolasco sports a decent FIP (4.06) but his extremely poor LD% (28%) is the reason for his 7.03 ERA.  Chris Volstad has a 2.97 ERA, which is masked by a low .221 BABIP. 

Nationals - The poor Nats don't feature one above average starter.  The silver lining is that all of their starters are young.  Jordan Zimmermann has the stuff to be a very good pitcher and is just 22 years old.  John Lannan posted a respectable 3.91 ERA last year, but his peripherals weren't great and they're worse in this young season.  I was surprised to see that Scott Olsen is just 25 years old - I feel like he's been around for a decade.  His fastball velocity has seriously declined since making his debut in 2005.  Daniel Cabrera's days of being a useful major league pitcher are behind him, but fellow staff member Shairon Martis is 22 years old and threw a no-hitter in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. 

Phillies - It's pretty miraculous that the Phillies have a winning record despite getting such a putrid performance from their rotation.  Cole Hamels is battling various injury woes and might be feeling the effects of pitching 262.1 innings last season.  Brett Myers's HR/9 is a ridiculous 2.43.  Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Chan Ho Park have been all around sucky, save Park's inexplicable domination last night. The bad news, for Met fans, is that the Phils rotation has nowhere to go but up.

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