After assembling what many are considering to be the greatest rotation of all time with Halladay, Hamels, Lee and Oswalt, Philadelphia has never been more excited for any season in its entire 121-year history and for good reason.
Behind an All-Star lineup with potential Hall of Famers in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the Four Horsemen boast a resume that includes 10 top five finishes in Cy Young award voting, three actual Cy Young awards, 13 All-Star selections, six 20-win seasons, three postseason MVP awards and a 20-8 postseason record.
Doc Halladay proved last year that his lack of postseason experience did not mean a thing as he threw a no-hitter in his first-ever playoff start. Cliff Lee's postseason resume includes a 7-2 record, with a 2.13 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 76 IP. Cole Hamels was the World Series MVP. But here are five reasons why Roy Oswalt will win the Cy Young.
Last year Ed Wade finally made Phillies fans smile when he not only traded Roy Oswalt, but he also sent $11 million to the Phillies in return. Oswalt enters the 2011 season under the last year of his contract, and the best chance he has ever had at winning a World Series. Oswalt owns a .643 career winning percentage which ranks fifth among active pitchers in MLB.
Roy Oswalt is a legitimate ace pitching either third or fourth in the Phillies rotation. He has shown throughout his career that when the stage is brightest, he thrives. Well, the lights will never be brighter for Roy than under the season-long sold-out lights at Citizens Bank Park.
Roy Oswalt will turn 34 this season and he no doubt will look at this season as all or nothing. Philly Nation will get Oswalt's best every time he trots onto the mound.
Let's just say for the sake of the argument that Oswalt will be the third starter in the Phillies rotation. This would set them up with a right, left, right, left rotation that will drive opponents crazier than a Cole Hamels changeup.
The Phillies play the likes of the Mets, Braves, Marlins and Nationals 18 times each this season, so let's say Oswalt pitches three times against the following pitchers: Tommy Hanson (Braves), Craig Stammen (Nationals), R.A. Dickey (Mets) and Javier Vazquez (Marlins).
Below you will see Oswalt's career stats compared to the projected No. 3 starters of the rest of the NL East. Take into consideration that this may be Roy's last hurrah with a contender (and in baseball) and you can understand why the rest of baseball is worried.
Roy Oswalt: 10 seasons, 150-83, 3.18 ERA Career
Tommy Hanson: Two seasons, 21-15, 3.16 ERA Career
Craig Stammen: Two seasons, 8-11, 5.12 ERA Career
R.A. Dickey: Eight seasons, 33-37, 4.70 ERA Career
Javier Vazquez: 13 seasons, 152-149, 4.26 ERA Career
Projection: 12 starts, 7-2, 2.85 ERA
Consider this: When Oswalt was traded to the Phillies at the deadline last season he revved up the engine and went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 games with the Phillies. Clearly, pitching for a contender and in front of the Philly faithful brought Roy's game to another level. A whole season with Oswalt in Philadelphia could lead to the most successful of his career.
With guys like Halladay and Lee who have well-known, legendary work ethics, this will only push Oswalt to be at his best just like it did to Cole Hamels last season. I'm getting chills just writing this article.
With Jimmy Rollins entering a contract year, Chase Utley poised to reclaim his name as the best second basemen in baseball and Ryan Howard back to win another MVP, Oswalt will have plenty of time to watch his teammates round the bases while he sits back and warms his cannon. With previous, perennial and potential All-Stars up and down the lineup, Phillies Nation has a reason to be excited about something other than the best rotation in baseball history.Even though it sounds so nice.
Roy Halladay was able to win 21 games last year behind an offense that at times struggled to score runs for him. History tells us that the Phillies offense should return to form as one of the most potent and productive offenses in baseball. With Oswalt pitching against teams' third and fourth starters, we could be looking at a historic season.
The Phillies have sold out over 100 consecutive games at Citizens Bank Park. Roy Oswalt has proved throughout his career that he pitches his best when the pressure is on. Oswalt is a big-game pitcher who thrives on the biggest of stages. With so many sports writers and columnists projecting the Phillies to again run away with the National League and win the World Series, the pressure has never been higher on a Philadelphia sports team.
Halladay, Lee and Hamels will all have great seasons as they help bring home ANOTHER ring to the greatest fans in sports. This Philly fan is thinking that the guy who starts off at No. 3 to start the season, will be No. 1 by the end.