BY NICK STAFFIERI, Contributor
On Wednesday July 29, 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians amidst fan uproar for not making a deal for the favored Roy Halladay. Roy Halladay was the man. Roy Halladay would have put this team over the top. Roy Halladay. Roy Halladay. Why couldn’t we have gotten Roy Halladay?
Fast Forward. Well, the Phillies now have Roy Halladay to start the 2010 baseball campaign. So why isn’t it drawing as much excitement as it would have if the Phillies acquired him seven months ago? Ok, so Cliff Lee wowed us. We were given a glimpse of what a dominant ace could do. We’ll miss Cliff Lee. But that short-lived era has passed. Bring on the next era. Bring on the next great Phillies pitcher. Let’s take a closer look at him, because my feeling is that not many Phillies fans really know how good Roy Halladay really is.
Halladay features a fastball in the low 90’s, a change up that rivals the best in baseball, and a late breaking curve that he can command at any point in the count. His delivery is technically sound and his approach to pitching is to dominate the batter with his control. The results have produced some of the best statistics in baseball.
In an American League that is dominated by great hitting, Halladay posted a 17-10 record with a 2.79 ERA in 2009. He posted an even more impressive 20-11 record with a 2.78 ERA in 2008. Over the past two years, he has led the Major Leagues in complete games with 18 including six shutouts. He is a two-time 20 game winner (In 2003, Halladay was 22-7) and a former Cy Young Award winner (2003). Over the last eight seasons, Halladay has averaged 7.45 innings per start, the highest in the majors. Halladay has consistently been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past eight years.
And what about facing those New York Yankees in the next World Series? We all know what Cliff Lee did in 2009. Well, Halladay has a career 18-6 record and a 2.84 ERA against the Bronx Bombers in his career. I think he’ll do okay.
If Halladay’s numbers do not impress you, then perhaps you haven’t paid much attention to the Phillies pitching staff in recent history. Halladay’s win totals in the past two seasons were 17 wins in 2009 and 20 wins in 2008. Let’s see how that compares to recent Phillies pitching marks with the following trivia questions:
1) Who was the last Phillies pitcher to post as many as 17 wins in a season?
2) Who was the last Phillies pitcher to post more than 17 wins in a season?
3) Who was the last Phillies pitcher to have a 20 win season?
1) John Lieber, 17-13 in 2005
2) John Denny, 19-6 in 1983
3) Steve Carlton, 23-11 in 1982
Are you ready to see the Roy Halladay era in Philadelphia begin now? Trust me. You will be excited.
Photo Courtesy: Yong Kim/ Philadelphia Daily News