Thursday, October 07, 2010

Anyone miss Cliff Lee?

By Chris Ruddick

Philadelphia - Shortly after Philadelphia traded for Roy Halladay I remember asking my friends who were Phillies fans, how much better they thought he was actually going to make them compared to what they had just lost in Cliff Lee?

There is a reason people in Philadelphia were disappointed that they wound up with Lee instead of Halladay at the 2009 trade deadline. Halladay was always the prize. He is the best pitcher in baseball. Of course, he would make them better over a 162 game season and he did, as he won 21 games and guided the Phillies to best overall record in baseball for the first time in franchise history.

But with what Lee did last postseason it was always going to be about October for Halladay.

Although the Phillies came up short in their bid for a World Series title last year, Lee became a legend in Philadelphia because of the way he pitched in the playoffs. He was so good that people actually complained this past winter when they finally acquired Halladay and dealt him.

That's how good Lee was last October.

Lee's name is still brought up on Philadelphia sports talk shows. He pitched a great game today against Tampa and someone called in and actually said, "Man I know Halladay is good, but I hope we didn't make a mistake dealing Lee."


Halladay is going to win the National League Cy Young Award this season and we are still talking about Cliff Lee? The same caller said no matter what Halladay did, he was never going to be able to match what Lee did last October when he went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA.

I wish I could talk to that guy now because barring a Texas Rangers World Series title and Lee celebrating at Citizens Bank Park, I am pretty sure you will never hear his name mentioned on Philadelphia sports talk radio again with regards to anyone missing him.

All Mr. Halladay did on Wednesday was become the second pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter in a playoff game, as he held the Reds hitless in his playoff debut at Citizens Bank Park.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Halladay is a beast. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around what he did today. And he was cool as a cat in doing so. There was not even anyone who came close to getting a hit.

By the way this wasn't the light-hitting Florida Marlins, who Halladay tossed a perfect game against earlier in the year. The Reds were the best hitting team in the National League this season.

As if there wasn't enough hype about this Phillies pitching staff heading into these playoffs.

So much for wondering how Halladay would handle pitching in the postseason for the first time in his remarkable career. Now what does he do for an encore when he takes the ball in Game 1 of the NLCS? And yes he won't pitch again in this series because it is over. I thought it was going to be a sweep now I am certain of it. Thanks for playing Reds.

"It was a lot of fun. It's just one of those special things you'll always remember," Halladay said after his gem. "The best thing about it is that playoffs take priority. It's neat for me to go out and win a game like that but knowing that there's more games to come, more to accomplish the rest of the way."

Halladay has set the tone. I have a feeling there are 10 more wins in his team's future.

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