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There is still no duo a team would want to face less than Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, masters of their domain on the mound.
When the Phillies traded Cliff Lee away and brought Roy Halladay aboard, not many envisioned they would ever be teammates. General Manager Ruben Amaro obviously thought otherwise.
After picking up 21 victories last year along with a Cy Young Award, Halladay has come back and been his normal self in 2011. A 7-3 record, a 2.56 ERA, just 1.3 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9, which would actually be a career high. Indeed, Halladay and Lee are one and two in strikeouts in the Majors: Halladay has 91 and Lee has 90.
Halladay has 31 complete games since the beginning of the 2008 season. He has five straight years of at least 200 innings, and eclipsed 250 last year. He is a groundball machine, and is throwing his cut fastball more than ever, and breaking more bats than ever. That pitch is up over 10 percent in usage from last year. Another Cy Young is not out of the question for "Doc."
Lee's 2011 start may be somewhat confusing to outsiders, but it's pretty clear what's going on here: a whole lot of bad luck. His 10.12 K/9 ratio is tops in the entire National League, yet he has a 3.94 ERA and a 4-5 record. He lost a game in which he struck out 16 batters.
Lee has a 3.94 ERA, but a 2.63 xFIP. Eventually, things are going to balance themselves out. Oh, expect that .339 BABIP to turn around too. And, just as quickly as Lee can give up ten runs in two starts, he can also do what he did in late April and early May, where he started four games and allowed just seven earned runs.
He is still on pace to have a pretty great season. The scary thing is that Cole Hamels could have been added easily to Halladay or Lee, and the duo still would have made the top two, maybe even been number one.
Money can't buy you happiness, they say. Philadelphia is hoping it may buy them a World Series title.