Tag:Roy Halladay
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 3:40 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

As I wrote on the final Sunday of the regular season, the National League MVP race was so close that I wouldn't decide until the season was over.

When it was, I picked Ryan Braun over Matt Kemp.

So did the majority of the voters, which is why Braun is this year's NL MVP.

Kemp had an outstanding season. So did Braun.

Braun had a huge impact on the pennant race. Kemp, basically through no fault of his own, did not.

The MVP is an individual award, but baseball is a team game. Everything you do is affected by your teammates.

And in my mind, it's hard (but not impossible) to be the MVP when your teammates aren't good enough to help you contend for a championship.

Would my vote have been different had Kemp won the Triple Crown, as he had a chance to do in the final weeks of the season?

It's possible it would have been. You'll never know, because I'll never know. I never had to make that decision.

I had to decide based on what did happen, and what happened was that Braun's great season helped his team to a championship, while Kemp's great season kept his team from losing more games than it won.

My ballot:

1. Braun.

2. Kemp.

3. Prince Fielder. For the first part of the season, he was even better than Braun. For the whole year, Braun got the edge.

4. Albert Pujols. He started slow (for him), and then he was hurt. But he came back strong, and so did his team.

5. Lance Berkman. Without him, the Cardinals would have been buried early.

6. Roy Halladay. The Phillies were the dominant team in the regular season, and their starting pitching was the reason. The problem was that it was hard to separate out one starter.

7. Justin Upton. Great year, great story, but his home-road split (1.033 OPS at home, .767 on road) held him down.

8. Cliff Lee. Based on June (5-0, 0.21) and August (5-0, 0.45), he was the MVP. For the full season, he just makes the ballot.

9. Joey Votto. Didn't repeat his 2010 season, so he won't repeat as MVP.

10. Carlos Ruiz. His numbers are nowhere near MVP-worthy. I gave him a 10th-place vote because of the impact he has on the Phillies pitching, which was so good that if I could have voted for the rotation as a whole, they would have been the MVP.

Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:07 pm

Cardinals head to NLCS -- and not the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals were a deserving playoff team, and now they're a deserving second-round playoff team.

But what the heck happened to the Phillies?

Chris Carpenter was great. This Cardinals team is talented and tough.

But what happened to the Phillies?

Sorry, but for the second straight night, we had a Game 5 that was just as much about the losers as it was about the winners. And if Thursday was a "terrible day" for the Yankees, Friday was much, much worse for the Phillies.

They won more games than anyone. They have more aces than anyone. They sell out every night. They "know how to win."

And they just lost in the first round.

This isn't to take anything at all away from the Cardinals. Their all-Central Division NLCS with the Brewers should be loads of fun, with two teams with tons of history and plenty of animosity.

But what happened to the Phillies?

Sorry to keep coming back to it, but this team was a bigger lock than the Yankees or Red Sox ever were. This team has five straight division titles, and had been in three straight Championship Series.

This team had Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

This team is done. And the Cardinals aren't.

The Cardinals were pronounced done themselves, prematurely as it turned out, when they were 10 1/2 games back in the wild-card race in the waning days of August.

But they started winning, and didn't stop. And the Braves stopped winning.

They still had to play the Phillies, and in the fourth inning last Sunday night, they were down one game to none in the series and 4-0 to Cliff Lee in Game 2.

Ryan Howard, who drove in the first two runs that night, didn't get another hit in the series, and made the final disappointing out of the season for the second straight year. At times, it felt like the Phillies as a team never got another hit, with the exception of the Ben Francisco pinch-hit home run that won Game 3.

Carpenter was brilliant in Friday's Game 5. The Cardinals got a run against Halladay early on, with a Rafael Furcal triple and then a Skip Schumaker double.

The Cardinals had a great night, and a great series.

But what happened to the Phillies?
Posted on: October 5, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 9:34 pm

Cardinals win sets up 'dream matchup' in Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- The Phillies didn't want or need this tension.

Baseball should love it.

The Phillies and Cardinals are headed to Game 5. That means Roy Halladay is headed for a meeting with Chris Carpenter.

The Phillies didn't want it, because the alternative was celebrating Wednesday night in St. Louis and heading to their fourth straight National League Championship Series. Instead, they'll play Game 5, because the other Roy (Oswalt) gave up a two-run double and a two-run home run to David Freese, and the Cardinals won Game 4, 5-3.

And now it's Halladay vs. Carpenter, in a matchup of ex-Blue Jays teammates who have gone on to win Cy Youngs elsewhere.

Perfect (even if the Phillies don't agree).

"I think it's a dream matchup because the two guys are great," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday afternoon. "They have maintained a relationship. I mean, you can't ask for anything better scripted than that.

"It's as special as it gets."

This Phillies-Cardinals series has already been special, with close games and comebacks. It deserved a Game 5.

And now it gets one.

Posted on: August 24, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: August 24, 2011 12:03 pm

So maybe it really isn't about the money

Players always go for the most money.

Except when they don't.

Except when Cliff Lee says, "At some point, enough is enough." Except when Jered Weaver says, "Could have got more. Whatever. Who cares?"

Except when Zack Greinke says, sorry Nationals, it's not your money, it's your team. Except when Roy Halladay says, "This is where we wanted to be."

There's a trend developing here, and it might be bad news for the Yankees.

The old rule of thumb was that free agents -- or even free-agents-to-be -- always signed for the biggest contract. And the Yankees always knew they could offer that biggest contract, if they wanted to.

But what if that's not true anymore?

What if the best players decide that once the money gets big enough -- $17 million a year, or $20 million a year, or $24 million a year -- an extra $1 million or $2 million or $30 million isn't going to buy happiness?

What happens is that Halladay gets himself traded to the one team he wanted to play for. What happens is that Greinke turns down a non-contending Nationals team (that offered him a big-money extension) so he can go to a contender in Milwaukee (under his current contract). What happens is that Lee turns down more guaranteed money, because he wants to be back in Philladelphia.

And what happens is that Weaver, as colleague Scott Miller details, bucks the Scott Boras trend. Instead of waiting for free agency (after 2012) and even bigger bucks, he tells Boras that "money really wasn't an option for me" and re-signs with the Angels.

Actually, two trends are at work here. With more money available throughout the game, more and more young aces -- Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and now Weaver -- never get to free agency. Hernandez and Verlander both would have been free agents this winter, if they hadn't signed extensions.

Imagine that bidding frenzy.

Or maybe not. Maybe, even if they had gone to the market, both would have signed for less than the last available dollar. Maybe both would have turned down the Yankees.

We always snickered when free agents said, "It's not about the money," before or after taking the biggest deal they could find.

But maybe there's a point where it really isn't "all about the money." And maybe now, we're reaching that point.

Posted on: July 15, 2011 8:05 pm

Manuel fine with Bochy's All-Star moves

NEW YORK -- Tim Lincecum, who was on the All-Star team but didn't pitch, starts for the Giants Friday night.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, both asked to pitch two innings in the All-Star Game, won't pitch for the Phillies this weekend.

And yes, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was the guy managing the National League All-Stars. But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel isn't complaining.

"They didn't get overused," Manuel said Friday. "[Bochy] earned the right to manage the team, and he can manage it any way he wants to."

Halladay, the NL starter, threw 19 pitches in his two innings. Lee followed him and threw 25 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.

Two things to note here:

First, Manuel managed the last two NL All-Star teams, and last year he used both Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Johnson for two innings. He knows that managing the All-Star team can be a thankless job.

Second, while it's true that neither Halladay nor Lee will pitch this weekend against the Mets, that's only partially All-Star related. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is a strong proponent of giving his starters extra rest during the season, and planned to push Halladay's next start into next week regardless of whether he pitched in the All-Star Game or not. Manuel said Lee might have started Sunday if he hadn't appeared in the All-Star Game, but that he may have been pushed into next week, too.

As it is, the real losers are the Cubs, who will see both Halladay and Lee in the series that begins Monday at Wrigley Field.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 1:25 am

3 to Watch: The Jeter returns edition

The last time Derek Jeter came off the disabled list, he got six hits in his first three games.

The time before that, he had eight hits in his first three games. The time before that, he had six hits in his first two games.

So with Jeter set to come off the disabled list as the Yankees begin a three-game series in Cleveland, does that mean Derek Jeter is going to get his 3,000th hit in George Steinbrenner's hometown?

No more than fact that Jeter has six hits in only one of the 16 three-game series he has played in this year means that he won't.

All we really know is that Jeter (who returns from the DL with 2,994 career hits) has a history of fast starts when coming off the disabled list. And also that Jeter is not the same hitter he was in 2003, the last time he went on the DL.

For what it's worth, we know that Jeter is a career .343 hitter against the Indians, and that he's a career .370 hitter at the ballpark that was known as Jacobs Field when he first played there, and now goes by the name Progressive Field.

We know that two members of the 3,000-hit club -- Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie -- reached the milestone in Cleveland, and that one member of the club -- Robin Yount -- did it against the Indians.

And we know that the Yankees insist that they're not worried about giving Jeter a chance to get to 3,000 this weekend at Yankee Stadium.

"I know there are conspiracy theories, but we need to win games," general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Saturday in Trenton, N.J. "We dopn't have time to play around with milestone stuff and all that extra stuff. I can honestly tell you, I could care less."

If the Yankees did care, they wouldn't be the first. As I pointed out last month, in 1978 Reds manager Sparky Anderson said he would pull Pete Rose from a game, rather than take a chance that he would get 3,000 in New York.

"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."

The Yankees have three games in Cleveland, followed by four games at home against the Rays, followed by a trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay after the All-Star break.

When will 3,000 come?

We can only tell you that history says it might not take long.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Before Jeter's calf injury, and before his return was scheduled for Monday, we thought the game of the day would be in St. Louis. It still might be, because Reds at Cardinals, Monday night (6:15 ET) at Busch Stadium, brings the renewal of what has become one of the most heated rivalries in the game. It's quite a week in the National League Central, where the top four teams finished play Sunday separated by just two games. The Cardinals and Brewers begin the week tied for first, and the Reds (two games back) play three games this week in St. Louis followed by four in Milwaukee.

2. Our C. Trent Rosecrans says Roy Halladay should be the National League starter in the All-Star Game. I'm not going to disagree, but I will say that Jair Jurrjens would be a good option, too. Halladay doesn't pitch again until Friday, so Jurrjens (who leads the majors with a 1.89 ERA) has a chance to become the NL's first 12-game winner when he starts in Rockies at Braves, Wednesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field.

3. Jeter's return from the DL will get more attention, but Phil Hughes' return, in Yankees at Indians, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, may be more important to the Yankees' chances this season. The reports from Hughes' minor-league rehab starts have been good, but you can bet everyone will be checking the radar gun readings and the box score line from his first big-league start since April 14. Oh, and maybe you should watch Jeter, too. He's 5-for-12 in his career against Justin Masterson, who will start for the Indians.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:08 pm

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

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 Baseball-reference.com, only eight pitchers in the last 90 years have thrown four straight shutouts. The last before Hershiser was Luis Tiant, in 1972.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:32 pm

Phils prove to us (or remind us) they can pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Three games don't tell us whether the Phillies are the best team in baseball.

But 27 games helped remind us why the Phillies are the best team in the National League.

The Phillies didn't prove much by winning two of three from a Red Sox team that has hit what seems to be a small midseason bump in the road. But the Phillies proved plenty by the way they won as many games as any team in the league in June.

No, proved isn't the right word -- what the Phillies did in June reminded us what we already knew, which is that their starting rotation is what makes them great.

Even with Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton on the disabled list, Phillies starters finished the month with a 1.96 combined ERA. According to Stats, Inc., it's the first time any big-league rotation has gone a full month with a sub-2.00 ERA since July 1992, when both the Braves (with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery) and the Cubs (with Greg Maddux) did it.

What's more, the top three Phillies starters -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels -- went 12-2 with a 1.13 ERA in June. Lee threw his third consecutive shutout to beat the Red Sox Tuesday night, and Hamels shut out the Sox for four innings before an Adrian Gonzalez line drive hit his right hand and ended his day early Thursday.

The Red Sox aren't hitting the way they did through May and into early June, and they lost series to the Padres and Pirates before losing two of three in Philadelphia. They'd lost six of seven before beating the Phillies 5-2 on Thursday, but this six of seven feels nothing like the 0-6 and 2-10 start to the season.

The Sox will get Carl Crawford back next week, and general manager Theo Epstein admitted this week that he may feel the need to trade for another hitter. But Epstein showed no great sense of concern when someone mentioned to him that the Yankees had moved into first place in the American League East (not that he should have).

"I thought it would be close all year," he said. "Except for when we were tripping all over ourselves early, it has been."

The NL East hasn't been as close, in part because the Braves haven't proved as formidable an opponent for the Phillies that the Yankees have for the Red Sox, but also because the Phillies' rotation has been so good that they haven't yet had a 1-6 stretch, let alone two of them.

Even so, manager Charlie Manuel keeps insisting that the hitting will be better in the second half (and also keeps suggesting that the Phillies should make a move to acquire another bat).

"People say the pitching will be there every night," Manuel said. "Well, not necessarily."

It has been there just about every night for the Phillies, even with the injuries. In the middle game of the Red Sox series, the Phillies went from Vance Worley to Michael Stutes to Antonio Bastardo -- and still beat the Sox, 2-1.

The Phils, as Manuel said after Hamels' injury scare, can't really afford to lose another starter. But as long as they can keep running Halladay, Lee and Hamels out there in three of every five games (and with Oswalt and Blanton possibly on the way back), it's easy to see this team repeating it's 51-30 first half, and thus topping 100 wins.

"It's fun to watch them go out and operate," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "They give us the opportunity."

The Phillies scored fewer runs in June than the Cubs did. They scored exactly the same number of runs in June that the Nationals did.

Their pitching carried them to a 17-10 month, and their pitching has carried them into first place.

Their pitching helped them win two of three in an interesting but ultimately not too important midseason matchup with the team that might be tops in the American League.

They're not really proving anything we didn't already know. But they sure are reminding us.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com