At last season’s trade deadline, the Phillies strongly pursued Halladay. The asking price was too high, so they “settled” on Lee.
Lee was dominant for Philadelphia. He helped get them to the postseason, won his first-ever playoff start, and was the winning pitcher in the only two games Philly won in the World Series. He finished the 2009 playoffs with a spotless 4-0 record.
However, the team did not repeat as champions, so the love affair with Halladay continued.
They finally landed their man in December, and fans salivated at a rotation featuring the one-two punch of Halladay and Lee. The Phillies’ front office didn’t have the same plans, though, and looking to restock their farm system, shipped Lee off to Seattle.
The media and fans continuously asked why the two couldn’t coexist for one miraculous season, but were forced to wonder, what if.
Looking for more help at this year’s trade deadline, the Phillies went out and traded for Roy Oswalt. The cries for Lee came back strong. “I told you so,” was a popular sentiment. Other phrases uttered included, “If they kept Lee they wouldn’t have needed to trade for Oswalt,” and “The trade for Oswalt was the team admitting they made a mistake trading Lee away.”
Could Philly fans really be that upset, though, as Halladay finished the season with 21 wins, a perfect game, a probable Cy Young Award, and another Division Championship?
Lee was traded to the Texas Rangers, who also made the playoffs. Both teams were scheduled to play on the first day of the playoffs, and fittingly, Lee and Texas would come before Halladay and the Phillies.
Lee delivered a gem. He went seven innings, allowed only one run, and in a masterful display of control, struck out 10 opponents while walking none. The Rangers won the game and Lee proved, once again, how dominating he can be.
Fittingly, Halladay did him one better, hurling a complete-game no-hitter, only the second in the history of the playoffs.
While nothing will matter to the Phillies if they don’t win the World Series, tonight proved the Phillies offseason theory.
Lee is incredible, Halladay is unhittable.