Phillies Roy Halladay: This Century's Complete Game King
Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay has been one of the majors' best pitchers in the past decade. Unfortunately, his 2012 season mirrored the Phils' '12 campaign as the team dropped from 102 wins in 2011 to 81 last year. Halladay struggled with an 11-8 record and an ERA of 4.49 (his 11 wins were the fewest since he had eight in 2004; his ERA was the second worst of his career).
The 2012 season was only the second time in Halladay’s career where he did not have a complete game (he did not have a complete game in 2000 with Toronto). This broke Halladay’s streak of 11 straight seasons where he had at least one complete game. It was also rare considering that Halladay had been the league-leader in complete games for five consecutive years (two with Philadelphia and three with Toronto).
Halladay leads the majors with most complete games in this century with 64 (he has 66 in his 15-year career). Following is a look at the pitchers who have had the most complete games since 2000. (A = active pitcher)
Complete Games, Pitchers
64: Roy Halladay (a)
39: Livan Hernandez (a)
35: CC Sabathia (a)
32: Randy Johnson
28: Mark Buehrle (a)
27: Chris Carpenter (a)
26: Cliff Lee (a); Curt Schilling
25: Javier Vazquez (a); Mark Mulder
24: Bartolo Colon (a); Tim Hudson (a)
23: Felix Hernandez (a); Sidney Ponson
22: A.J. Burnett (a)
20: Justin Verlander (a); Roy Oswalt (a)
Halladay is one of seven pitchers who has had at least one complete game in 10 of the 13 seasons since 2000. Leading the way is Tim Hudson, who has had a complete game in 12 of the 13 seasons this century. He is followed by Sabathia, Halladay, Buehrle and Livan Hernandez, each with 11 seasons, and Burnett and Vazquez with 10.
As mentioned above, Halladay’s streak of 11 seasons with at least one complete game was broken last season. Sabathia is now the pitcher with the longest current streak of seasons with at least one complete game with 11.
He is followed by Matt Cain (eight straight seasons with one-plus complete game); Bronson Arroyo, Verlander and Felix Hernandez (each with seven straight); Cole Hamels (six); and Jake Peavy, Ricky Nolasco, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren (each with five straight).
Here’s a couple more stats on complete games:
* Halladay is the active leader in complete games with 66. Sabathia is a distant second on the active list with 35.
* Even though Halladay ranks first on the active list, his 66 career complete games is only good enough for a tie for 644th place on the all-time list.
* You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (or even a baseball expert) to know that the complete game is slowing becoming a rare feat in today’s game. Last season there were only 128 complete games. By comparison, 20 years ago (in 1992) there were 419 complete games. Go back another 20 years to 1972 and there were 1,009 complete games that season.
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