Tag Archives: Roy Halladay

Why I Think Felix Hernandez Is The Best Pitcher In The World

Every so often, there’s a debate about who’s the best pitcher in baseball. Or, who is the best in each league, i.e. who should start the All-Star Game. Today on the old radio, there was a debate about who would you want to pitch in a one-game World Series. The debate eventually became Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum, but I can’t ever help like Timmy has a home field advantage out here in Northern California. Obviously, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. On most occasions that I’ve seen him pitch, he’s been dominant. On the other hand, I’ve seen him look extremely mortal at times. He’s prone to the occasional blowup. Halladay, however, never seems to give up any more than 4 runs in a game – and that’s when he’s off. Granted, I probably have a bit smaller sample size when it comes to Roy, but I probably see arguably his more important games. Though I will concede that Lincecum is usually solid in the big games as well.

There’s one guy, though, that I always consider to be one of the top two pitchers in baseball that no one really ever seems to bring up until you get to the top 5 or 10. Ever since the first time I saw him pitch when

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Heartbreak In Detroit

Tough break for Armando Galarraga tonight. The Tigers pitcher had a Perfect Game through 8 2/3 innings, only to see it snatched right out from under him by a blown call at first. Who deserves the blame? The obvious culprit here is first base umpire, Jim Joyce, who will probably receive some much-deserved hate mail over the next week or two. But in reality, there are two other individuals who indirectly affected the outcome of this game. See, the Perfect Game is widely considered the rarest feat in sports. From 1880-2009, there were only 18 ever thrown. 1880 was also the only season in which two Perfect Games were thrown – until this year. First Dallas Braden threw the 19th in history, followed a couple weeks later by Roy Halladay.  Suddenly, the Perfect Game was becoming more common. Enter Galarraga, who was putting in a solid bid to throw the 21st Perfect Game in 130 years, but also the 3rd in the last month. Somewhere the powers that be were cringing at the thought. I’m not crying foul here, but someone’s emotions got the best of them here. Usually you’ll see the umpire give a pitcher a little more leeway behind the plate down the stretch of a No Hit bid, but if not for Braden and Halladay already notching Perfect Games this year, that umpire calls it an out. You can’t argue that. I’m not sure why all of a sudden pitchers are throwing no hitters three times more often that Ian Kinsler and Grady Sizemore are homering, but maybe pitchers are just getting better. It’s like they say in basketball, great offense always beats great defense (who is that, Mark Jackson?). Perhaps in baseball, great pitching always beats great hitting. So, they may have stopped Armando Galarraga this time, but there’ll be another guy, and another guy after that, who can’t be stopped by a close call. The bottom line is it’s going to happen, and maybe lose its luster a bit, but the game hasn’t changed that much. Before you know it, there’ll be a five or six year span where no one does it. You can’t change history – it’ll all even out over time. So here’s a big BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for Jim Joyce.


Roy Halladay Pitches One Last Complete Game For Toronto

No, this one didn’t come from the mound of the Rogers Centre. The recently traded Roy Halladay took out a full page ad in the Toronto Sun today, thanking the Blue Jays organization and the fans of Toronto for all their support during his 15 years north of the border. Halladay has flown relatively under the radar up in Canada, but nonetheless you still never hear anything bad about the guy. The pitcher best known in Major League Baseball for his ability to finish what he starts, Doc closed out his Toronto chapter in classy fashion. Blue Jay fans have had a lot to be frustrated with over the years, but it’s moments like these that make you remember why you stick with your team during the down years. Give credit to Halladay for recognizing the importance of this. Here’s an image of the letter…


Big Baseball Moves

I don't like the Yankees, the Sox's, or big John Lackey, but I'm fully rooting for Lackey to throw some punches in one of their heated divisional games!

The Red Sox picked up John Lackey Monday, which was a solid move. I really like waving goodbye to Lackey from the AL West that is, he seemed to dominate the A’s every time he took the mound. Boston also made one other surprising signing as well. No, not Jason Bay. Matt Holliday?!? Nope, it looks like they are picking up Mike Cameron. Really!?! Interesting move Theo… I guess it’s a defensive upgrade getting a 3-time Gold Glover. Cameron has some power, and he is cheaper than the two mentioned guys. We’ll see how it pans out. I guess he could be a Johnny Damon type guy for them who has been known to be a good mentor and clubhouse guy. I just don’t see how it helps them compete with the Yankees, but oh well, I don’t really like them anyways. Another move that I saw, was the Red Sox offered Chapman a contract for $15.5 million! Ladies and gentlemen strap in for the next relevant Chapman!

The other shocking moves made Monday was the trade that sends Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and Cliff Lee is going to Seattle. I don’t really understand why they wanted to give up prospects, when they could just turn around and sign Lee keeping the prized youth, but if they sign Halladay to a long extension it might be worth it. I could really care less about Halladay landing in Philly, the main reason stems from me not really caring about the NL all that much. I’m just worried the A’s will now have to face Lee now five times a year. In the end, I’m really curious to see how Phillies top prospects pan out, they’ve had a good run of home grown talent over the last few years, so I’m sure whatever they gave up to make Toronto happy, must have been worth it!

In A’s news, we let go of JacKKK Cust, and inconsistent, wrongfully named, Santiago Casilla. I see this as an addition by subtraction. Our defense just improved by not having to ever put Cust in the field again. He makes a little leaguer trying to catch a ball during the home run derby look like a all-star out there. He also clogs up the bases with his slow station to station movements, and kept speedy guys from moving around the bases at times. This team is moving into a speed era it appears, and Cust doesn’t suit that. All in all, it’s been a crazy day for the MLB off-season!


(Not So) Early Predictions for the Cy Young – National League

About three weeks ago, I broke down the AL Cy Young race.   I’m not so sure about my prediction anymore, as Roy Halladay has had a lackluster last few outings.  What I would like to point out, however, is that I also mentioned that if Zack Greinke were to “regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.”  Well, at this point, that’s looking like the case.  Greinke’s numbers are now so good across the board it looks like he may be a lock, at this time, for the award.  He leads in the AL in ERA, WHIP, and Shutouts, is second in Ks behind Justin Verlander, and third in Batting Average Against, behind Matt Garza and Felix Hernandez, respectively.  There’s still a month of baseball left to be played, but he looks like the clear front runner in that race and should bring a little bit of pride to what’s left of the Kansas City Royals’ fan base.

Now, on to the topic at hand – the National League Cy Young race.  Once again, I’ve narrowed it to a group of five: Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Adam Wainwright, and Dan Haren.  We’re going to do this one by process of elimination.  Haren is probably the longest shot at this point, given his team’s standing.  He has the least impressive record of the bunch and the highest ERA.  However, I put a lot of weight on WHIP when it comes to assessing a pitcher’s performance, and in that aspect he is the best, 0.95. Like I said, though, he’s a longshot, and would need to finish out strong to have a serious chance.

That leaves us with four.  Adam Wainwright has the most wins of the bunch, racking up an impressive 17-7 record.  But, he also has the highest WHIP and BAA, along with the next highest ERA behind Haren.  His record is due in part to his team’s success.  While he’s no doubt having a great year, his numbers just don’t stack up with this bunch.

Matt Cain is also having an outstanding year for a contending club.  Historically a hard luck pitcher, Cain boasts an impressive 13-4 record.  His 2.51 ERA and 1.16 WHIP are more than respectable.  Cain, though, is supposed to be a power pitcher, yet his strikeout numbers are low, and his K:BB ratio is easily the highest of the bunch. Next.

And then there were two.  Chris Carpenter (16-3) and Tim Lincecum (13-5) are the clear front runners for the award.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to choose between them.  Carpenter has the better record, ERA, and WHIP, but Lincecum has substantial advantages when it comes to Innings Pitched, BAA, and has 34 more strikeouts than the next guy, Javier Vazquez, in the NL, and 104 more than Carpenter.  Lincecum has thrown 34 more innings in 4 more starts than Carpenter.  Granted, a pitcher shouldn’t necessarily be punished for missing starts due to injury, but you have to look at the numbers as a whole, and overall, I think Lincecum’s numbers are slightly more impressive.  But, both guys have a few more starts to go, and that will be what separates the two.  Carpenter will have an opportunity to set himself apart, and I think he’ll need it.  Because, at this point, although unlikely, I’m predicting Tim Lincecum to be the first repeat Cy Young winner since 2002 when Randy Johnson won his fourth straight.


Early Predictions for the Cy Young – American League

On the heels of Chappy’s MVP predictions, I figured there’s no reason not to start talking about the Cy Young races.  Today, we’ll start with the American League, where I’ve narrowed it down to six guys.  I had my list at seven, but after comparing the numbers, it was obvious that Edwin Jackson simply didn’t belong.  There were others you could make a case for as well, such as Jarrod Washburn and Mark Buehrle, but ultimately, they wouldn’t have a chance to win it, so for that reason, we’ll leave them out.   So, without further ado, I’m envisioning the award coming down to this group: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez.  Fortunately, the Cy Young Award seems to place less emphasis on the team’s win-loss record than, say, the MVP award.  So, you could still argue that Halladay, Greinke, and King Felix are at a disadvantage, but I don’t think at this point it takes them out of the running.

Rather than making a case for each guy, I’m going to cut right to the chase.  I put these 6 guys side-by-side (by side by side by side by side) and one player stood out: Roy Halladay.  See for yourself. If you asked me who I thought the frontrunner was, I would’ve said Josh Beckett or Justin Verlander.  Given Sabathia’s well-documented success in the month of August, I’d have given him the inside track to make a late charge.  I also would’ve thought that Zack Greinke’s dropoff since his outstanding start to the season would have taken him out of the running, but he still has very solid numbers.  His 2.33 ERA is still the best in the league.  So, if he were to regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.

For now, though, it’s Roy Halladay who deserves the honor.  Part of me thinks he might get overlooked because he’s won the award in the past, but that was six years ago.  His 13-5 record is pretty remarkable when you consider he’s playing for a team that’s 8 games under .500.  It’s too bad he didn’t get the opportunity to pitch for a contender on a bigger stage down the stretch run of the season.  Nonetheless, if he keeps up what he’s doing, it would be a disgrace to give it to anyone else.  He’s easily the most consistent and dependable of the group.  All five of the other pitchers have been prone to blowups.  Halladay’s worst outing, numbers-wise, came two weeks ago against the Yankees, where he gave up 5 ER on 9 H in 7 innings pitched.  If that’s the WORST start you have all year, you take it in a heartbeat.  On top of that, Doc basically ranks in the top two in this group in each relevant category.  His 2.65 ERA is second only to Greinke’s.  His 173 IP is only short of Sabathia’s 178.2.  His 13 wins is only one less than Beckett and Verlander’s 14.  Most impressive, his WHIP (1.08) and walks (21) are far better than anyone else’s.  The only knock on Halladay’s numbers are the number of hits he’s given up and the low strikeout total – however, he’s right on par with Beckett and Sabathia in that department.  As for the hits, it should be noted that Halladay gave up a league-high 253 during his 2003 Cy Young campaign.  The key for him is damage control.  His strikeouts are limited because he excels at going deep into games.  He has 45 career complete games, only 7 less than the other five guys combined.  There’s no harm in giving up hits if they don’t score.

I hope this all makes it as clear as it is to me.  Like I said, I would’ve never put Halladay in the running before I dove into the numbers.  Obviously, there’s plenty of baseball to be played, but for now, the Cy Young trophy should be in the Doctor’s waiting room.


Rios Gets A Bailout

Alex Rios

Alex Rios probably has made enough over his career to feel comfortable financially, but he received a bailout from the Chicago White Sox today. In one of the unprecedented moves I’ve ever seen, the Toronto Blue Jays put Alex Rios on waivers, just after he had signed a seven year $69.8 million dollar deal in April of 2008. Although JP Ricciardi said this was not a “salary dump”, there are only two explanations, they either knew more about his decline over the last two years or they really did need the money. It also may show that JP isn’t really a good GM as he failed to make a deal for Halladay when there were plenty of options out there for him, and now he’s dumping one of his biggest signings he’s made since being Toronto’s GM. Who knows whats going on north of the border! Maybe Rios couldn’t cut it when they started testing for certain PEDs that he was taking, which forced Toronto’s hand to cut ties before the monster portion of his contract kicked in. I’ve never heard a name as big as his just released for nothing. I saw it flash on television while I was at a Sacramento Rivercats game (Oakland A’s AAA team), and went back to my friends to tell them that Rios was on waivers and nobody believed me! That’s how weird this move was!

The Chicago White Sox claimed him today, which has added to this perplexing situation. They picked up a fourth outfielder when they already have three good options in Dye, Podsednik, and Quentin. Just earlier this month they picked up Peavy via trade, and his ginormous contract of $45 million over the next three years, and now take on Alex’s ridiculous contract too! Why did they even want to pick up a fourth outfielder, especially one that is struggling?Gary Matthews Jr. Maybe they saw how well it worked out for the Angels by overpaying on Gary Matthews Jr. to be their fourth or fifth outfielder. One thing I still can’t figure out is, why wouldn’t the White Sox just let him not get claimed? If they let him fall through waivers, which he probably would have with his terrible numbers this season (.264 BA, 14 HR, 62 RBI over 108 games). This is also his second straight declining season, which makes this even more baffling. If and when he cleared waivers, they could have signed him to a different contract over the off-season and easily could have paid him less than $10 million a year. They are three games out of the division race at the moment, and I don’t see how this will help them other than having a “good player” to fill in when other players have their rest days. If they made the move because they had Thome, Dye and Contreras coming off the books in 2010, then why not wait until the off-season to make this move to try not to upset the clubhouse hierarchy? If anything, this move will hurt them financially and chemistry wise, unless he has a Matt Holliday-like turnaround in his new surroundings. There’s one big difference, Rios doesn’t have Pujols or have the excuse of going back to a familiar league! Good luck with that one Chicity.


The Trade Deadline is Coming Who Will Find a New Home?

Stock Trading Floor

With the trade deadline approaching, it looks as though teams need to make some moves to ensure that a playoff run is going to happen. There are powerhouses (Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox), that may not need to make a move to make the playoffs, but there’s a good chance they may need to make a move to win a championship. I’ve been waiting to see what prospects the A’s can pull out of it, and they do have a few bargaining chips so this may be the last time I’m excited about news from them for awhile. Aside from the Halladay sweepstakes, many say there aren’t many difference makers in the market this year. I agree to some extent that Halladay could make an impact like CC Sabathia did last year taking Milwakee to the playoffs. Then again there are the subtle differences like Boston adding Orlando Cabrera and upgrading their defense to help them push their way to breaking the curse. I will run through some other players not named Halladay, that could be a big difference maker when it’s all said and done.

Matt Holliday. I guess I have to start with a player from my team. Matt HollidayI’m just hoping we get something to the tune of a few major league ready minor league players, instead of two compensation draft picks when he leaves this off-season. San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Boston could use some power at the moment, and are all within three games of the wild card spot at the moment.  Holliday hasn’t lit the world on fire since coming to Oakland, but is showing teams he’s still a good player as it gets closer to the deadline with 3 HR’s, 13 Runs, 14 RBI, and a .311 BA over the last month.

Justin Duchscherer. Another A’s player, and Buster Only was all over him as a poor man’s Halladay. I’m not sure I’m sold on him returning to his dominant form of last season, but the numbers don’t lie, as he’s set to make his re-hab stint and hopefully a return to the majors soon. Pitching as a reliever or a starter his ERA has never been higher than 3.27, which makes me a believer that teams would pick up his modest salary in hopes he returns to form by playoff time. It also opens the door for him to return to the bullpen when he makes it back up, which would make the likes of Wuertz and Ziegler available. I would rather have either of them that the Orioles George Sherill.

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez. He’s having a solid comeback season with 14 HR’s, 59 RBI’s and a .286 BA. Vic is a player that would be a good fit for Red Sox or the Mets with Delgado and Lowell constantly battling injuries. He would also be a solid fit behind the plate in Boston with the deteriorating Varitek.

Cliff Lee. I think the chances of Lee making as much of an impact as Halladay are fairly likely. It’s been reported that since the Sox placed Wakefield on the DL they sent their top scout to Toronto to watch Lee dominate the Jays in his second consecutive complete game. It seems like Cleveland should have plenty of phone calls for last years Cy Young award winner and Martinez.

Marco Scutaro. He’s an interesting player on the block. I think he is the ultimate team player, kind of like Mark DeRosa was to the Cubs last season. Marco ScutaroHe can play multiple positions, and can come through with clutch hits (Many fond memories of him in an A’s uniform). He’s a glue guy that every contender needs, and if a team deals for him they won’t be disappointed with what he brings to the table.

Freddy Sanchez. The Pirates failed to reach agreements with Sanchez and Jack Wilson, so it looks like once again they will be trying to trade their soon to be free agents for some more prospects. Sanchez is the most interesting of the two as he plays phenomenal defense, and gets on base with regularity hitting .311 on the season. He’d be a good fit with the Giants or the Cubs.

Only time will tell, and after July 31st we will see which teams make their upgrades, and which teams think they already have what they need. Even though I doubted there would be any fireworks this year. I think there are some good names on the market besides Halladay!