Already 3-0, Can Halladay Win 25 Games?
Major League Baseball hasn’t seen a 25-game winner in 20 years. The last time the feat was accomplished, in 1990, Bob Welch went on to win 27 games for the Oakland Athletics. The game of baseball has changed. Pitchers no longer go deep into games on a regular basis. It’s highly unlikely that a pitcher will ever win 300 games over the course of their career again. Roy Halladay, who will turn 34 in a month, certainly isn’t going to reach that mark. He’s only half way there after winning his 151st game on Friday. However, that doesn’t mean the Doc isn’t a little behind the times.
By that I mean Halladay is the ultimate work-horse – a true bulldog who has nine innings on the brain every time he takes the mound, in an era where general managers go into cardiac arrest every time a starter eclipses the 100-pitch mark. He’s thrown over 200 innings each of the past two seasons, seasons in which he won 20 and 17 games for the lowly Toronto Blue Jays. After a 3-0 start to the 2010 season with his new club — the National League powerhouse Philadelphia Phillies — you’d be silly to think it would be unrealistic for Doc to win 25 games before the season’s over.
A switch from the American League to the National League will inflate any starting pitcher’s statistics. By still allowing pitchers to bat, the NL essentially has an automatic out built in to a team’s starting lineup. Couple that with the fact that the Phillies have a rare makeup, one that can compete with any AL squad offensively, and Roy Halladay has found himself in the perfect situation during the prime years of his career. In Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard, Philidelphia has as good as top of the order as any team in baseball — AL teams included. The Phillies score early, and they score often. With Halladay on the mound, the former will usually suffice.
All that being said, I leave you with my first prediction as a member of the Larry Brown Sports staff. There will be no Cy Young debate in the National League in 2010. If health is not a factor, Roy Halladay can certainly become the first MLB pitcher in 20 years to win 25 games, and I see no reason why he should win less than 23. Tim Lincecum is good. I’m sorry, Tim Lincecum is unbelievably good. However, it won’t be enough to carry him to a third straight Cy Young award at the end of the season. The combination of Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies could, and should, turn out to be one of the deadliest Major League Baseball has seen in a long, long time.