Blog Entry

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:05 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- One day into the postseason, we know how this has to end now, right?

One day into the postseason, and the biggest stars are Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.

OK, really that should be Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, with Lee far behind, despite no walks and 10 strikeouts.

But still, Halladay and Lee, Lee and Halladay. Any idea where we've heard those two names before?

Any idea where this is going?

No, I'm not really predicting a Phillies-Rangers World Series, not yet. But it sure would be fascinating, wouldn't it?

A little background, although I'm pretty sure you know it already:

The Phillies wanted Halladay in July 2009, but they couldn't work out a deal with the Blue Jays. So they got Lee instead, and he was great for them, including going 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six postseason starts (and beating the Yankees twice in the World Series).

Halladay finally became available last December, and the Phillies pounced. And they made the decision, debated forever since in the bars of Philadelphia, to trade Lee to the Mariners in order to (take your pick) restock the farm system, or save money, or make things just a touch fairer for the rest of the National League.

Anyway, Halladay has been great, and he just opened the playoffs with the second no-hitter in postseason history. Lee, in Seattle and then Texas, has been very, very good, and he just opened the playoffs by beating the Rays, 5-1. There have only been seven no-walk, 10-plus strikeout games in postseason history, and now Lee owns three of them.

And in Philadelphia, you know there was someone -- many someones, actually -- saying, "We should have both of those guys."

Forget that if they had kept Lee, they likely don't trade for Roy Oswalt. Forget that unlike Lee, Oswalt and Halladay are both signed through next year (and under control through 2012), which means the Phillies will go into 2011 with their Big 3 (Halladay, Oswalt and Cole Hamels) intact.

The fact is, the Lee decision, or the Lee-Halladay decision, is still a hot topic here, hot enough that Phillies president David Montgomery raised it without prompting this week in an interview with Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News .

It's not going away, at least not until and unless the Phillies win the World Series.

And it really won't go away if that World Series begins with what now would have to be the dream matchup: Roy Halladay vs. Cliff Lee.

A few other day-after thoughts on Halladay's no-hitter:

-- One of the things that has fascinated me the most about Halladay this year is how seriously he takes his hitting. In fact, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said last night, "Probably the only thing that ever frustrates him sometimes is his hitting sometimes, or his bunting."

Halladay, like most American League pitchers, was not a good hitter. In 12 years of interleague play with the Blue Jays, he was 3-for-38. This year with the Phillies, he hit .141 (13-for-92), although he still struck out 42 times. Of the 100 pitchers who had at least 20 plate appearances this year, Halladay's .141 average ranked 47th. It's not great, but it does leave him in the top half. And it's a lot better than you'd expect from a guy who spent a lifetime in the American League.

And, of course, Halladay had a hit and drove in a run last night. How rare is it for a guy to get more hits than he allows, or to drive in a run while throwing a no-hitter? Not as rare as you might think. Ubaldo Jimenez did both this year in his no-hitter against the Braves, and just since 1990 nine pitchers (including Halladay) have gotten a hit while pitching a no-hitter.

-- Halladay's work ethic is legendary. Dubee said with certainty last night that Halladay would be the first Phillies player at the park today, "working as hard as ever." It reminded me of 2003, which was Halladay's first 20-win season. I was covering the Tigers then, and I saw Halladay's 19th win, a brilliant 10-inning, three-hit shutout on a Saturday late afternoon at the SkyDome. And I remember, the next day, how impressed then-Tigers manager Alan Trammell was to see Halladay doing his running outside the stadium very early on that Sunday morning.

-- The first time I ever saw Halladay pitch was on a Sunday afternoon at the SkyDome, and he nearly threw a no-hitter that day, too. It was his second big-league start, and it was the last day of the 1998 season. And the Tigers didn't get a hit until there were two out in the ninth inning, when interim manager Larry Parrish sent Bobby Higginson to the plate as a pinch hitter, and Higginson hit a home run.

-- I've been fortunate to cover three no-hitters now (Randy Johnson in 1990, Justin Verlander in 2007 and last night), and also Roger Clemens' second 20-strikeout game. Halladay's game last night was the most dominating performance I've ever seen, simply because it never felt like the Reds had much chance to get a hit.

-- As I wrote last night, there was a sense of inevitability about these Phillies, even before the no-hitter. And that sense isn't diminished by Friday's pitching matchup. Oswalt is 23-3 in 32 career starts against the Reds (although two of the losses were this year), while Reds starter Bronson Arroyo is 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his last four starts against the Phillies.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:09 am

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 8:27 pm

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

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Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

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Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:21 pm

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:55 pm

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:14 pm

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 8:20 am
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Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:06 pm

Thinking again about Halladay -- and Lee

Wow! If that happens they can throw out a field player for the 5th starter and still win 100 games haha.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2010 11:11 am

Add Lincecum to the mix.

He needs to rewrite this after Lincecum's utter dominance of the Braves last night.  Could you imagine a Lincecum-Halladay Game #7 of the NLCS matchup?  That would be epic...

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