Blog Entry

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:08 pm
The bar is set high, but then it would be anyway.

Roy Halladay returns to Toronto this weekend, to pitch at the Rogers Centre for the first time since the big trade that sent him to the Phillies 19 months ago. Cliff Lee follows Halladay on Sunday, with a chance to become the first pitcher since Orel Hershiser (1988) with four consecutive shutouts.

And they'll do it on the same field where Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays eight weeks ago.

So maybe by the time this weekend is over, we'll have a better way of answering the question that has been bugging me for weeks.

Who is the best pitcher in baseball right now?

"To be honest, I think it's between me and Halladay," Verlander said when I asked him that question last week. "But if you asked anyone, they'd probably say that about themselves."

Not anyone. I know that, because I asked Lee, the guy with three straight shutouts, the guy who had a ridiculous 0.21 ERA in June (compared to 0.92 for Verlander and 2.00 for Halladay).

"In my opinion, it's not even debatable," Lee said. "Nobody else is in Halladay's ballpark. It's not even close."

I can't say I tried to argue with him, but I did point out the three straight shutouts.

"It takes longevity," Lee said.

Halladay has the longevity, and he has the great history in Toronto. So when you look at this weekend's schedule, it's hard to leave his big return to the Rogers Centre out of 3 to Watch.

But I'm going to do just that, because I always stick to one game per series and I can't pass up Lee's attempt at a fourth straight shutout.

For this weekend, though, think of this as 4 to Watch, and pretend I included them both:

1. If you check the ERA leaders, you might notice that neither Lee nor Halladay leads the National League. Instead, it's Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, at 2.07, and it's probably worth pointing out that he gets his next start in Orioles at Braves, Friday night (7:35 ET) at Turner Field. Jurrjens faces Jeremy Guthrie, who was throwing 96-97 mph in his last start.

2. If you check the ERA leaders again, you might notice that Verlander doesn't lead the American League. Instead, it's Jered Weaver of the Angels, at 1.97, and it's probably worth pointing out he makes his next start in Dodgers at Angels, Saturday night (9:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. His mound opponent, Clayton Kershaw, isn't bad, either.

3. I'll assume you already watched Halladay against the Jays on Saturday (1:07 ET). But I'm sticking with Lee, in Phillies at Blue Jays, Sunday afternoon (1:07 ET) at Rogers Centre. According to research through, only eight pitchers in the last 90 years have thrown four straight shutouts. The last before Hershiser was Luis Tiant, in 1972.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
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3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
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3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:34 am

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 3:26 am

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:04 pm

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:51 pm
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Since: Apr 22, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:00 am

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

Lee, Oswalt, doc halliday, and hamels have all been beaten by the San Francisco Giants. Just saying. 

Remember 2010

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2011 9:01 pm

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

Watch the generalizations, redwings.  I'll make one myself: your hockey comments are a lot stronger than your baseball ones, if the above are any indication.

HaHa.  Ok, fine.... I got pissed and said something I shouldn't. But the philly fan that knocked Verlander is a moron.  If somebody wants to say that Halladay has had a better career NOBODY on the planet can argue that point.... But if we are talking about THIS YEAR Verlander is certainly in the argument for being the best pitcher.  Is there any meaningful stats he's not leading the lead in or really close to it?  And I believe the A.L is a much tougher league to pitch in.  It might not be a pitcher hitting 4 times a game but if it's not a pitcher then it's a pinch hitter.... as a coach in the N.L said recently the A.L teams are built to hit the ball... it's a much tougher league for pitchers.

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