SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Roy Halladay

Now that we have a few days to catch our breath before the start of baseball's postseason (and thanks to the Padres for that), what are we to make of the teams still worrying about pitching rotations? Well, for the most part, SportsNation isn't exactly shocked by the playoff field.

Five of the eight active teams were ranked in SportsNation's top 10 on Opening Day, and the Giants were knocking on the door at No. 11. Only the Rangers (No. 16) and Reds (No. 23) really came out of nowhere.

But if either the Rangers or Reds are going to keep surprising, Cliff Lee and Edinson Volquez will likely need to break out their best Don Larsen impersonation. Lee rebounded from a weak August to dominate three of his final four starts, while Volquez missed the first half of the season but gets the first postseason start for the Reds after posting a 1.95 ERA in September. It's the time of year for aces to shine, but which teams have the best arms?

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Unlike the increasingly heated AL Cy Young debate, the NL MVP seems like a bit of a foregone conclusion. Albert Pujols is doing what he usually does, but the Cardinals aren't going to the postseason. The Rockies made a run, but without a playoff berth, neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Troy Tulowitzki appear likely to pick up enough votes. Joey Votto, on the other hand, ranks second in batting average and third in home runs and RBIs for a team going to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. That's what we call an MVP resume.

But what about Roy Halladay?

The Phillies ace is close to a lock for NL Cy Young, but does he belong in the MVP debate? No National League pitcher has won the award since Bob Gibson in 1968, but five AL pitchers won MVP more recently than that. So has Votto really created more wins for his team than Halladay has for his?

Rick (Philly)

Should Halladay get some MVP consideration? He is the best player on the best team in the NL

Rob Neyer
Rob Neyer

The MVP has unofficially been redefined to exclude starting pitchers who don't win 25 games, and of course nobody wins 25 games anymore. Based purely on wins and losses and impact on pennant races, Halladay is obviously a wonderful candidate. And he won't finish in the top 5. Full transcript

Derek (Toronto)

Hi Jerry, i've had the pleasure of watching Roy Halladay pitch from day one and to see him get the recongition and accolades he deserves is great. However, what he has done this year doesn't come as a surprise to those of us who followed him his whole career. He has preformed this well year in and year out but while he was in Toronto it seemed like he always took the back seat to other pitchers ie. Johan Santana. Do you think the fact that he played in Toronto is the reason he didn't get all the fanfare that he's getting now?

Jerry Crasnick
Jerry Crasnick

Derek, Part of it was playing in Toronto, and part of it is his media-shyness. Halladay is a good guy, but he's so busy watching video, lifting weights, doing stretching and cardio and all the other stuff he needs to prepare, he's almost invisible in the clubhouse. He doesn't reveal a whole lot of himself for public consumption. That's never been a priority for him, and it never will be. Full transcript

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It's official: Roy Oswalt will no longer have to try to win games with a team that's putting up a .299 OBP. Oswalt waived his no-trade clause, clearing the way for him to join the Philadelphia Phillies (currently in a knockdown, drag-out pennant race).

Oswalt's been one of the finest pitchers in the majors for much of his career, although he's rarely gotten the attention he deserves. Recent years have dragged on Oswalt's winning percentage -- his 12 losses this season actually lead the league -- but he still gives up few hits and keeps the ball in the park. He's joining Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels in the rotation, giving the Phillies an intimidating trio of aces (especially in a short playoff series). Could he be the missing piece Philadelphia needs to make the playoffs?


He signed his deal when things were good and as soon as things start going bad he wants out. Typical athlete. I don't blame the Astros for trading him, rebuilding has been a long time coming for that team, but I love when guys sign a deal and when things start to go bad they want out.

-- brewerfan54

We are only 3.5 out with Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Happ and Polanco all out for parts of this year. That's 4 starters, all of whom are former all-stars, and the rookie-of-the-year runner up and our No. 3 starter. So yeah the Phillies of the first half are not the team that went to back to back WS. But by the end of August, everyone will be healthy and now we have the best front three in baseball. Phils-Yanks again in the series, sorry but there is no debate that the Phils are tops in the NL talentwise and with Oswalt and health, goodnight and thanks for trying Atlanta. I will miss Happ, but you can't pass on one of the best pitchers in the game.

-- cjmfour

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Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn led the National League with 73 complete games in 1884 and finished 489 of the 503 games he started over 11 pitching seasons with Providence, Boston and Cincinnati. Helpfully, though he left us in 1897, he's also mastered the art of tweeting from beyond the grave, including this as a heat wave took its toll on pitchers over the holiday weekend.

  • "All this complaining about the heat. Bah! Try hurling back-to-back CG shutouts in sopping woolens. I once lost 95 lbs. in a single day." -- "Old Hoss Radbourn" on Twitter
  • That was before Phillies ace Roy Halladay went the distance against the Braves, allowing just five hits en route to win No. 10 on the season. The win total leaves him four behind Ubaldo Jimenez, but no pitcher in baseball is in Halladay's class with seven complete games. In fact, only one team has more complete games than Halladay -- the Mariners.

    So when sizing up the Cy Young race, are Halladay's complete games more impressive than Jimenez's wins?

    Jimmy (Seattle)

    excluding Jimenez, do you see Josh Johnson as the next best for the NL cy young?

    Jayson Stark
    Jayson Stark

    It's a star-studded field in the NL. So by the end of the season, we might have eight pitchers in this argument. But as of this particular moment, yes. What a year he's had. Full transcript

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    We're on record as considering Pedro Martinez's 2000 season as perhaps the finest pitching performance of all time. Consider: In the midst of the steroid era, in the AL East, in a hitter's park, Martinez put up a 1.74 earned run average. That's good for a 285 ERA+, meaning he was almost three times as good as the league-average ERA. Pretty crazy, right?

    It's early yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez might have a chance to better that mark. Jimenez gave up two runs Sunday, which means his ERA soared to a magisterial 0.93. That's good for an ERA+ of 484, which means he's almost five times better than the league average. All this in Coors Field in a division that has a number of good hitters. (Adrian Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval can put a pretty quick dent in a pitcher's ERA, don't you think?) Ubaldo (we think we can refer to him by his first name, considering the last Ubaldo in the majors was Ubaldo Heredia in 1987) throws a 100 mph fastball that seems to move about three feet, which would make him a rather good pitcher if that were the only pitch he had. Unfortunately for National League hitters, he has about five more.

    Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA, achieved during the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" (1968, when only six players hit better than .300), is the modern record low for a starter. Could Ubaldo challenge that mark? He certainly has a head start.

    Marty (Stratford, CT)

    Did analysts see Ubaldo Jimenez's mad skills as he came through the minor league system, or has this year come as a surprise to you guys?

    Jayson Stark
    Jayson Stark

    There's been a buzz about Jimenez for years. What's propelled him to this level this year is that he's finally commanding his whole repertoire, and especially his fastball. Lots of fun Ubaldo talk in this week's Rumblings and Grumblings, by the way. Full transcript

    Jack (NY)

    Halladay vs. Jimenez? Halladay has a much lower xFIP.

    Rob Neyer
    Rob Neyer

    I still believe Halladay is the best pitcher in the National League. But there's certainly an argument here. Full transcript

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