Recently, earning the right to dominate conversations of Philadelphia Phillies fans for generations, two legends have toed the slab at Citizens Bank Park, but now Cole Hamels watches as only one can add numbers to his stat sheet. Will Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay finish with better statistics in Philly?
This article was ready for editing before Lee was available for the second half of the season. Please, scroll down for this edition of Genuine Insight: The Better Man.
This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future. Also, there is a humanizing element.
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The Better Man:
When Lee no longer wears red pinstripes, he will leave behind his results, like Halladay did in 2013.
Many fans today can only look at the stats, photos and video to appreciate Steve Carlton, and years from now tomorrow’s faithful followers will face a similar yet improved experience. That stated, it’s difficult to envision lefty’s preeminence when the long-retired star is only an older version of himself. When this current cycle is complete, the retired numbers between 32 (Carlton) and 36 (Robin Roberts) could be 33 (Lee), 34 (Halladay) and 35 (Hamels).
This piece compares the performances of Lee and Halladay during the regular 162 and the playoffs–after the haul and timeline sections.
Talk about confusing the fan base. Ruben Amaro Jr. dealt minor leaguers to Toronto for Halladay and traded Lee to Seattle almost simultaneously, planting the seeds of doubt about his ability as general manager before his second spring at the helm. Despite adding two studs to the roster, the GM angered the faithful and practically sealed his own fate. Which means that barring a third parade down Broad St., he has established a foundation for his failed tenure with those two swaps.
Will it ever matter how those bargaining chips do? No. The Tribe received Carlos Carrasco (middle reliever), Lou Marson (backup catcher), Jason Donald (reserve infielder) and Jason Knapp (Single-A fireballer), who never advanced due to arm trouble. On the other hand, the Jays didn’t do much better. Kyle Drabek has struggled with his health and major league hitters, Travis d’Arnaud is finally producing after his second call-up with the Mets, and Michael Taylor is still at Triple-A.
With intertwined stints in Philadelphia, these two aces have not disappointed except for growing old along with us. Halladay was 36 years of age when he walked off the mound for the final time in ’13, and Lee will be 36 years old by the end of August.
To accomplish his postseason goal in 2009, Amaro basically offered the same package of prospects to Toronto for Halladay and Cleveland for Lee at the trading deadline. The Indians accepted the deal that the Blue Jays rejected, and paying customers soon realized how dominate Lee is when he’s on. Wearing number 34, the southpaw carved up NL lineups with laser-like precision.
In ’10, Lee’s agent was in no hurry to ink a hometown discount. Meanwhile, Doc wanted that roster spot, the number 34 and that postseason opportunity. When it comes to doing business, Amaro prefers two options and major positions filled before January 1.
After the Pat Gillick era in 2008, the next head honcho didn’t stand a chance. Consequently, the faithful concluded that Amaro alone was responsible for 2010’s lost championship. If the Phillies had Halladay, Lee and Hamels, they would have defeated San Francisco, captured a third straight NL pennant and their third World Series. The action never taken will never fail.
Were the fans right about 2010? If Lee was a Phillie, the higher-ups would never have needed Roy Oswalt for the stretch run. That said, the red pinstripes had a rejuvenated Oswalt with Halladay and Hamels. Would Lee have exceeded Oswalt’s 7-1 record and 1.74 ERA? Oswalt had three playoff starts and went 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA. How would Lee have improved the team for the NLCS against the Giants?
In ’11, Lee pushed his representative to work out an agreement with the front office, and ownership–John S. Middleton in particular–approved the financial side of the free agent’s request. And Halladay, Lee and Hamels were a solid trio. Why didn’t they triumph over the Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS?
The 162-Game Grind:
With no relief appearances for either hurler, Halladay pitched in 103 contests for 702 2/3 innings over almost four summers, while Lee hurled a total of 827 1/3 frames over nearly four campaigns and 118 performances.
- Halladay’s 55-29 record or Lee’s 48-34 mark.
- Lee’s 2.94 ERA or Halladay’s 3.25 ERA.
- Lee’s 713 punch outs or Halladay’s 622 strikeouts.
- Lee’s 124 walks to Halladay’s 137 free passes (six intentional bases on balls).
- Lee’s 13 hit batters to Halladay’s 25 HBP.
- Pitching 6 1/3 innings or more: Lee with 86 to Halladay’s 71.
- Working seven plus frames: Lee with 80 to Halladay’s 67.
- Finishing at least eight innings: Lee with 38 to Halladay’s 33.
- Pitching nine frames: Halladay with 16 to Lee’s 13.
- Complete games: Halladay with 18 to Lee’s 12 (without his scoreless 10-inning effort).
- Lee’s eight shutouts to five for Halladay.
Serious October Baseball:
Who will ever forget Halladay’s no-hitter in his first playoff appearance or Lee’s dazzling first postseason run in ’09? Lee began six contests for 46 1/3 frames and Halladay had five performances for 38 innings.
- Lee’s 4-1 record or Halladay’s 3-2 mark.
- Lee’s 2.33 ERA or Halladay’s 2.37 ERA.
- Lee’s 42 punch outs or Halladay’s 35 strikeouts.
- Lee’s four walks to Halladay’s five free passes (one intentional base on balls).
- Working seven plus frames: Lee with five to Halladay’s four.
- Finishing at least eight innings: Both with three.
- Complete games: Lee with two to one for Halladay.
- Shutouts: Halladay with one to none for Lee.
Many fond memories include Lee’s 30-out magic in San Francisco on April 18, 2012 and Halladay’s 11th start as a Phillie: a perfect game in Miami. And if not for Lee, would the Phils have the 2009 flag?
Although the common judgement in ’09 considered Halladay to be a better pitcher than Lee, number 33’s time in red pinstripes is equally spectacular.
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