The Phillies celebrated Christmas in July against the Cardinals Saturday afternoon with a 14-6 win. And if there was ever a reminder that the Phillies needed Roy Halladay then it came in this game.
So when a team rips off its 16th win in 18 games and scores 10 runs or more for the 15th time this season, why would the Phillies mess with success.
That's easy to figure out.
First, the Phillies are not going to face the Mets, Reds, Pirates, Marlins, or Padres in the postseason all of which contributed to their recent tear. The Phils did get wins against the Cubs and Cardinals, but don't get carried away. They beat up on Ted Lilly who is now on the DL and Kyle Lohse.
Second, they are not going to put 10 runs or more in the postseason with the ease they are doing it in the regular season.
Third, and the most important thing to remember is this: Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball.
The Phillies are built for the regular season. The lineup good 'ol Charlie Manuel trots out there may be the best in the biz. They can put up runs and they can put them up in the blink of an eye. But once the postseason rolls around, the bats will not be as effective.
Last year in 14 postseason games the Phillies only score more than five runs four times. Ironically one of those occurrences was a 10-run effort in the World Series. Those are impressive numbers in the postseason. But consider this: The Phillies held their opponents to three runs or less in 9 of those postseason games.
And even more eye-popping is that only three different Phillies starters registered a win in the postseason: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, and Joe Blanton.
Phillies fans know Cole Hamels is not going to pitch on short rest so a fourth starter is needed. Brett Myers may not return to the starting rotation this year. This leaves the Phillies with Hamels and Blanton. Not bad, but Hamels is certainly not on point, and I don't know how confident the Phillies feel about Blanton being the second starter.
Let's give them both the benefit of the doubt considering they rose to the occasion last year. Pencil those two starters in. Who do the Phillies have after that?
J.A. Happ would probably be your third man out, but he's not going to go heads up against slop in the postseason. Happ has seven wins this year. Two came out of the bullpen, the other five have not come against a playoff team. His best win came against the Marlins when he fought his way out of some jams against an offense that was sputtering.
Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez would battle it our for the final spot in the postseason rotation. Insert an AARP jokes you want and well, you get the point. I respect what both are trying to do this year, but respect does not win championships, it leads to moral victories. And the last time I checked there weren't parades down Broad Street for moral victories.
Imagine if Halladay comes to the Phillies via a trade involving Happ. The starting pitching and bullpen would be bolstered.
Hamels would get the start in game one and I don't have a problem with that. He is the reigning World Series MVP and Manuel will stay loyal to him.
Halladay would get the ball for the next game followed by Blanton.
Yes, the Phillies will still need a fourth starter, but now they have three solid starters in the postseason instead of two followed by a question mark and then either Moyer or Martinez.
And whoever does lose out in the battle between Moyer and Martinez will be sent to the pen, which should help out. If Moyer goes out there it is always nice to have a lefty come out of the pen to face one or two batters. And if Pedro goes out there you could possibly get three or more innings out of him, much like Chan Ho Park.
The Phillies have a great regular season and it will lead to a third-consecutive trip to the playoffs. But if they want to win a second-consecutive Championship they need Halladay because pitching wins championships.