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.

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  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    After getting used to Cy Young winners winning less than 20 games, seeing Halladay get to 25 wins would be awesome. I think it would be lofty to get to that mark, but 23 should be within comfortable reach. I hope he gets there.

  • Gene

    With the Phillies’ outstanding lineup, Halladay has a chance to get past 25 wins if he can stay healthy and avoid the DL.

  • http://clubseatsports.com Evans

    As a Phillies fan, the past few year have been offense offense offense. Nothing is more exciting than watching Doc take the mound. If I have to choose, I’d rather watch him picth than watch the Phillies lineup. He’s that damn good.

  • Upset Canuck

    Hey did you guys know the Doc used to pitch up here in Canada for about a decade?? He was really good up here too…funny how you only hear about him now after a mere three wins. I wonder who will be in the World Series this year the Red Sox and Phillies, or the Yankees and Phillies. I can hardly the 6 months to find out yay!!!

  • Steve DelVecchio

    Upset Canuck, I understand where you’re coming from. Doc has always been very, very good. However, the Jays have not, as I’m sure you’re aware. Halladay never got the opportunity to pitch in the postseason while playing in Toronto. The fact that arguably the best pitcher in the game is now pitching for the best team in the National League, which is much more favorable for pitchers than the American League, is very intriguing for everyone, not just Phillies fans. You’re right about Halladay having been a great pitcher while in Toronto also, but playing for a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 1993 just isn’t going to create many story lines.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Speak for yourself, Canuck. We have plenty of knowledgeable fans who have been following Halladay for over a decade. I guarantee you reverse the situations and we’d be writing the exact same thing. Say Halladay was originally a Phillie and got traded to Toronto where their offense was awesome and went 3-0 to start the year, we’d write the same post.

  • Upset Canuck

    The article was about achieving 25 wins which is much more a personal accomplishment than a team one. Its just interesting to watch the media attention he gets now that he is in Philly. He has had even better starts in previous years on Toronto teams which have come out of the gate strong. Both the Jays and Phils have had good starts to the year again and I guarantee he wouldn’t have any attention on him if he was still in Toronto because its happened in the past. Its just a shame that he never got a chance to be in the spotlight because of the mediocore teams he was on for so many years.

  • dave

    Hey Steve, just to fill you in a bit, Jimmy Rollins is at the top of the Phils batting order, and Victorino is the 7 hitter – at least when Rollins is healthy, as he was until just recently. And, you left out Jason Werth, who may be the Phils’ second best all around hitter, behind Utley. Other than that, you are correct – we are very excited about Halladay and his being arguably the best pitcher in MLB – which the Phils have not had a claim to since Steve Carlton. Lefty, as we called him, was the last 20 game winner for the Phils, winning 23 in 1982. And of course, pitching for a woeful club that won 59 games in 1972, Carlton won 27! Could Halladay equal that number? I say if he stays healthy and the Phils’ lineup does too, it is a possibility.

  • http://LarryBrownSports Steve DelVecchio

    Dave, thanks for the feedback. You’re right about Rollins and Werth. For the purpose of this post, with the focus being on Halladay, I was more or less scouring over a few lineups from the last few days, which of course didn’t include Rollins with him being on the DL at the moment. With Rollins back they are and will be THAT much better. I tried to not go into too much detail about the Phillies hitters, because that could turn into a post of its own. Their lineup is that good. As far as 27 goes, I’d highly doubt that. I suppose its possible, but I predict the Phillies will be in control of the division while Halladay still has a few starts remaining toward the end of the year. The question will then become does Charlie Manuel let Roy do what he loves to do and go as deep into games as possible, or does he hold back a little and save his arm for his postseason debut. My guess is it would be the latter if that situation does indeed arise.

  • dave

    Steve, Agreed as to the end of season decisions with Doc. I thought about that too. If the Phils are comfortably in front during the last couple weeks, Charlie may rest Roy. Their history though suggests they are a team that coasts a little with a big lead, and makes it closer than need be at the end – so it is possible Halladay will still be working then. We’ll see… At any rate, good piece on this….

  • Keith

    How good is your new ace?

    Your forgetting Halladay pitched in THE TOUGHEST DIVISION IN BASEBALL, in a league with superior hitters, the DH, a hitter friendly park, on a weak team with poor offense along with no relief against Boston and the Yankees night after night!