PHILADELPHIA -- Before the Phillies' 11-6 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of this NLDS, Roy Halladay was in a classical state of mind. He wore his warmup jacket draped over only one of his shoulders as he strode in from the bullpen before the top of the first inning, creating a toga effect. Hours earlier, St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa appealed to the gods for help in dealing with him ("Maybe it'll just rain when Roy pitches, and not when Kyle [Lohse] pitches," LaRussa said, when apprised of the forecast). And Halladay had this to say the previous afternoon, when asked about his considerable respect for the Cardinals: "I heard a quote a long time ago: I came here to bury Caesar, not praise him."
NEW YORK -- For a moment the distinct deliveries of three aces filled adjacent televisions in an inadvertent study of pitching greatness. There were Roy Halladay's compact coil of a windup, Jered Weaver's corkscrew and Tim Lincecum's long-stride slingshot all on simultaneous display.
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay doubled for the first time in his career, balked for the second time in the last six seasons, matched a personal best with 14 strikeouts and, most improbably of all, lost a complete game while pitching into the ninth inning with a lead.
Take me out to the ball game? For some dealing with this relentless heat wave, that idea could make you think twice.
CNN's Ted Rowlands reports on a heat wave making life miserable from Texas to Minnesota.
Nearly one year ago, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay took to the mound and threw the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, beating the Florida Marlins 1-0.
Here are 50 New Year's resolutions I'd like to see.
Roy Halladay wasn't actually that much better than the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright this season, but the slight advantage he held was obvious enough that his selection as the 2010 National League Cy Young Award winner was the most obvious result among the eight Baseball Writers Association of American awards being handed out this week and next. Indeed, Halladay was listed first on all 32 of the writers' ballots, the 13th time that a National Leaguer has won the award unanimously in the Cy Young's 55-year history. Halladay is now in some elite company with this, his second Cy Young award. Not only does he join Sandy Koufax as the only men ever to pitch a perfect game and win a Cy Young in the same season (Koufax did it in 1965), but, having previously won the award in the American League with the Blue Jays in 2003, he becomes just the fifth pitcher ever to win the award in both leagues. The four men who did it before him were Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Roger
Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Nov. 29. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A pitcher can come to a baseball game armed with great stuff, an airtight game plan and confidence by the barrel loads. Pitching on those precious days with swing-and-miss stuff and rhythm like Coltrane is serendipitous, even somewhat easy when the baseball is made obedient.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Of course they did not know much. You think Roy Halladay was walking around the clubhouse during Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and telling all of his teammates about how his groin hurt? Please. Halladay is a name, rank, serial number kind of guy on his best days. When it comes Halladay and pitching, everybody is on the same security level -- it's all on a need-to-know basis. And nobody except the trainers and the coaches needed to know that he was in pain.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The clubhouse of a losing team is usually library silent, as if a stodgy old woman behind the reference desk is shooting a stern glare down her bifocals at everyone in the room. Whispering only, please.
Cliff Corcoran breaks down each day's games throughout the postseason.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Much of Charlie Manuel's charm stems from his meandering soliloquies, folksy and good-natured, often with his insight buried amidst his rambling replies to seemingly straight-forward questions.
PHILADELPHIA -- One of the beautiful things about the baseball postseason is that it can turn strangers into heroes, for a moment, and also forever.
NLCS Game 1: Tim Lincecum (1-0, 0.00 ERA; 16-10, 3.43 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.00 ERA; 21-10, 2.44 ERA)
1. What sort of greatness will we see next?
CINCINNATI -- It's such a staple on classic rock stations, you're surely sick of it by now. The Phillies are, too.
PHILADELPHIA -- So what was it like, to be at the park on a drizzly October night a guy pitched his way into the pantheon? The fans at Citizens Bank Park waved their little white rally towels frantically. They stood and screamed -- pure, primal, throat-scratching screaming -- on pitch after pitch and after pitch. (And there were only 104 of them for the game.) The fans dressed in operating gowns, waiting for Roy (Doc) Halladay to see them, looked remarkably healthy, jumping up and down, up and down, up and down.
Roy Halladay just joined the most exclusive group in baseball history. Prior to Wednesday night, there had been 220 postseason series played in baseball history since the creation of the World Series in 1903. If those Series averaged five games each, that meant that more than a thousand postseason games had been played and that on more than two-thousand occasions a pitcher started a postseason game with the chance to throw a no-hitter. Yet in all of those games, from among all of those pitchers, a group including most of the games greatest, only one had actually held his opponent hitless for nine innings: Don Larsen, who did so in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Wednesday night, Halladay joined him.
1. Braves pitcher Derek Lowe, watching a television in a concourse at AT&T Park in San Francisco, tried to guess what pitch Roy Halladay would throw Brandon Phillips on a 0-and-2 count while he was one strike away from the second no-hitter in 1,263 postseason games.
PHILADELPHIA -- There was a "shock factor'' in being no-hit, especially in the postseason, Reds outfielder Jay Bruce admitted after Phillies mega-star Roy Halladay made the National League's most productive lineup throughout the regular season look like a bunch of pikers in a 4-0 victory in Game 1 of the NLDS.
You know the baseball playoff format needs repair when a division title is at stake on the final day of the season and the right thing to do is to bench your best pitcher.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow may have lost his no-hitter one out away from completion, but his performance Sunday afternoon in Toronto was one of this season's best pitched games -- even better than most of the season's no-nos.
Ten years ago today, Roy Halladay was a member of the Syracuse Chiefs, trying to recover from a vicious reversal of fortune. Following a rookie season in which he'd posted a 3.92 ERA in 149 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays, Halladay had fallen apart in April, posting six straight starts of fewer than six innings and at least six runs allowed. Demoted on May 16, Halladay had an 11.97 ERA and a historic case of whiplash. His 2000 season still stands as the worst in history for any pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched, with a final ERA of 10.64.
So you are no doubt asking: What the heck is going on here? Another perfect game? These used to be the rarest of feats. Perfect games used to be like solar eclipses and cheerful Pearl Jam songs. Now, they happen about as often as 100-degree days in Arizona. It's strange. One of the few joyous moments of my sports childhood happened in 1981 when Cleveland's Len Barker threw a perfect game against Toronto. It made the Cleveland Indians the centerpiece of baseball for a while, because no pitcher had thrown a perfect game in 13 years and no pitcher would throw a perfect game for three years afterward. Lenny Barker got to be famous for a while.
One night earlier this month, as I was walking on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx as the game inside Yankee Stadium was winding down, I noticed a police van parked at the curb, officers milling about, and a palpable buzz among a small crowd. Only then did I see the cause of the mild commotion: two of only 13 men still walking this earth who threw a perfect game in the big leagues. David Wells, a bear of a man, costumed appropriately all in black, including a camp shirt that could make do for propelling a sailing vessel, and David Cone, ever youthful and catlike, dressed nattily in coat and open-collared shirt, mixed easily among the fans -- though they be legends among them.
This spring, SI.com's baseball writers will be filing postcards from all 30 camps. To read all the postcards, click here.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cliff Lee might finally have found the right team for him. The Mariners and Lee are taking things slowly, but word is that if everything goes well and he likes his first foray in the Northwest, the Mariners will try hard to lock him up with a new contract. That's something neither of his past two teams (the Indians and Phillies) showed much interest in doing. Which seems either crazy or bad luck, or maybe a bit of both.
So, I have been playing around with a new baseball prediction system. I would like to tell you that it's complicated... and it is extremely complicated. But I don't want to confuse the word "complicated" with "stupid." I suspect my system is both.* It's versatile that way.
Making a big starting pitching acquisition is always a risky proposition. Starting pitchers are tough to predict. Oftentimes they get hurt, they break down, they lose their stuff, or they just plain stink. At other times they'll surprise you with a great year or a great performance. Given the unpredictable nature of hurlers, especially a few years down the road, making a big splash to acquire a pitcher is a risk. For every successful Greg Maddux or Andy Pettitte signing, there are several Mike Hamptons, Jason Schmidts, Chan Ho Parks, or Barry Zitos that have the potential to hamper a franchise long-term. The impossible trick is figuring out which will be which. Here I'll attempt to present the best and worst starting pitching gambles in the 2010 offseason.
Baseball rarely disappoints. Every season brings its share of milestones, rare feats, dominating performances, and thrilling finishes and this year was no different. Gary Sheffield hit his 500th home run, Randy Johnson earned his 300th win and Mariano Rivera recorded his 500th save. Jonathan Sanchez pitched a no-hitter and was one error away from having a perfect game. Eight players hit for the cycle (the most in a single season since 1933). And Eric Bruntlett turned just the second game-ending unassisted triple play in major league history, which appropriately came against the Mets, thereby condensing their disastrous season into a single, historic play. Yet none of them were as noteworthy as the stories below. Here, in chronological order, are the ten biggest baseball stories of 2009.
How can a three-team trade involving two of the five best pitchers in baseball leave so many questions about who won and who lost? It's a mystery, but Philadelphia, Seattle and Toronto managed it this week in the most convoluted and entertaining trade of the decade.
A flurry of big-ticket activity in the last few days could spark a very interesting next few weeks after the hands and fortunes of several teams changed dramatically in a few-day span.
Well, you probably know by now that the three-way Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-prospects-galore deal is utterly unique. It has never happened before that two Cy Young Award winners were in the same trade. When you throw in the odd fact that the SON of a Cy Young Award winner -- Kyle Drabek, son of 1990 Cy Young winner Doug Drabek -- was also part of the deal (according to sources), well, it's really quite a remarkable thing. This is finally the chance for headline writers to go with that that Cy-Onara headline they've been waiting forever to use.*
Roy Halladay has agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract extension with a one-year vesting option for $20 million with the Phillies. All that remains to complete the blockbuster three-team trade involving the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners is for physicals for all the players involved to complete the deal that was originally agreed upon Monday and involves two Cy Young winners changing teams.
On a late fall day that could resonate for many falls to come, two contenders were fortified, one was crippled and another was born. An ace looked to be going from west to east (John Lackey), east to west (Cliff Lee) and fourth place to first (Roy Halladay). If baseball teams are truly defined by their best pitchers, the ones who snap long losing streaks and dominate short playoff series, then Monday was as significant as a Game 7.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It's a funny winter meetings when one of the biggest acquisitions is Peter Gammons going to MLB Network. Although, a few other significant baseball people were on the move, a lot of groundwork was laid, many offers made and some very big things started to become much clearer.
INDIANAPOLIS -- After Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin just spent $37.25 million to get veteran pitchers Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins, he had an interesting take on what has happened to the level of competition in the National League. "You have to respect the Phillies," Melvin said. "They're starting to create a powerhouse in our league."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Superstar pitcher Felix Hernandez's intention to request about $100 million for six years in contract talks might surprise some folks in that other young star pitchers have sought far less. Zack Greinke took a $38 million, four-year contract with the Royals and Josh Johnson was reported to request about $45 million for four years from the Marlins.
INDIANAPOLIS -- There's something wild happening out West, where the Mariners are establishing themselves a threat to the preeminent Angels -- at least in wintertime. Seattle stole the Angels' igniter Chone Figgins by outbidding its rival to the south by one year and $1 million per year (the Mariners' winning bid was $9 million a year for four years, while the incumbent Angels were at $8 mil per for three) and appears to have its sights on two more players that interest the Angels: star left fielder Jason Bay and star pitcher John Lackey, the Angels' ace over the past few years.
Star Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, who hopes his current residence in trade limbo will be resolved within the next couple of months, will be pleased to hear that the Jays have engaged the Yankees in at least initial trade talks. According to sources, Toronto officials mentioned at least four Yankees players and minor leaguers that interested them when the teams spoke recently: Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, catching prospect Jesus Montero and outfield prospect Austin Jackson.
Everyone knows who the top players are on the free-agent and trade markets this winter: John Lackey, Matt Holiday, Jason Bay, Roy Halladay and perhaps Adrian Gonzalez. But who are the players behind the players? With a week to go before the start of the winter meetings in Indianapolis, here are the players who are expected to be the real movers and shakers this winter ...
The Yankees recently called the Blue Jays to express interest in superstar pitcher Roy Halladay. And while the Yankees made the very same call last summer with no hope of acquiring Halladay, this time they have a real reason to believe they may actually have a legitimate chance to make a blockbuster trade.
CHICAGO -- The world champion Yankees will inquire about superstar pitcher Roy Halladay, setting up a potential bidding competition that didn't exist last summer when now-deposed Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi made it clear he wanted to avoid trading Halladay within the division.
CHICAGO -- The Cubs are trying hard to dump the perennially malcontented Milton Bradley here at the GM meetings, as it isn't just manager Lou Piniella who didn't connect with him in his season here. Apparently, several key members of the team -- including Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano -- barely speak to Bradley.
CHICAGO -- No team is going to spend or presumably improve via free agency like the Yankees did last winter, when they doled out $423.5 million to three star players alone. Post-parade, and as the GM meetings get underway here on Monday, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Yankees spent wisely. But with the Yankees far less needy this winter and this year's free-agent list less star-studded -- Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and John Lackey are the only in-their-prime players who can reasonably aim for $100 million deals and the only ones even sure to crack $50 million -- no team is expected to try to duplicate such a spending spree. Nor would one even be possible this time around.
In each installment of Diamond Digits over the last two regular seasons, we have anointed the players with the titles of Best and Worst Stats of the Week. When making these selections, we look only at the previous seven-day period stretching from Monday to Sunday, and in virtually every case, season statistics play no factor. This edition is a little different. In the final installment of the season, we looked not just at the last week, but at the full bodies of work over the course of the past six months. Instead of doing best and worst, we skipped the negativity and broke the yearly honors up into the best position players and pitchers.
Manager Lou Piniella slumped in the dugout this weekend, exemplifying a talented Cubs team that has slumped far too often this season. Meanwhile, Mets manager Jerry Manuel provided a study in contrasts, standing erect in the opposing dugout, and generally not giving off the same sort of negative vibe. It must be a matter of style, and/or personality, since Manuel's Mets are is having a season just as horrific.
When a team is struggling and falling far behind in the standings, its players will often invoke the Colorado Rockies, the team most famous for coming out of nowhere to make it to the World Series. Players on these fading teams inevitably suggest they could become the new Rockies. But few do.
The Red Sox were rightly considered a winner on deadline day for acquiring big-time hitter Victor Martinez, who has continued to thrive since leaving Cleveland for Boston. But now, a couple weeks later, with the Red Sox still struggling, it looks like they could have used even more help.
Call them the Blew Jays. Because they blew the Roy Halladay trade talks big time.
The Blue Jays came out of the trading deadline with the best pitcher in baseball, not only for the rest of this season but also next, and yet the consensus among media pundits was to assign them to the "losers" column in their unofficial scorekeeping. Why? Because the media pundits were made to expect a trade of Roy Halladay, so their days of speculation went for naught?
E-mail question from John: "Are the Phillies really not going to trade for Roy Halladay because of Kyle Drabek? Kyle (bleeping) Drabek? Who the (bleep) is Kyle Drabek? I don't care if Kyle Drabek goes on to win 500 (bleeping) games ... how can you not trade for Roy Halladay?"
Can we learn anything about this week's trade deadline by looking back at the past two? Absolutely. There were 58 trades completed combined in July 2007 and July 2008. These are the lessons to keep in mind as Friday, 4 p.m. ET nears:
Despite the self-imposed Blue Jays deadline of Tuesday, plus semi-regular predictions from Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi that Roy Halladay will remain a Blue Jay, Toronto is still in discussions with multiple teams, and many competing executives still believe Halladay will be dealt.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a shot at getting the best pitcher in baseball for not just one but two Octobers. Yes, it should hurt to acquire a pitcher as good as Roy Halladay for this year and next. But there are no guarantees prospect Kyle Drabek, 21, will be fronting a World Series-quality rotation by the time he is big-league ready, or that the core of the Philadelphia team still will be in its prime. Forget the Phillies "rejecting" the Blue Jays' asking price for Halladay. That's part of negotiating. The bottom line is Philadelphia still makes the most sense to acquire the best pitcher in baseball.
Knowing their chances remain slim for superstar pitcher Roy Halladay and even slimmer for star pitcher Cliff Lee, the Yankees called the pitching-strong Mariners on Saturday to inquire about their status as buyer or seller. The Yankees need a starting pitcher, and Jarrod Washburn is a pitcher they've liked for years.
With one week to go before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, the Phillies remain the favorites to land ace Roy Halladay and the Cardinals emerged as a possible landing spot for outfielder Matt Holliday. Meanwhile, several teams continued their pursuit of Indians All-Stars Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez, who appear to remain more likely than not to stay in Cleveland. Here's a look at what seems to be going on with the big four ...
Think of the pressure inching closer to Roy Halladay.
The latest word from a source familiar with Philadelphia's thinking is that the front-running Phillies have decided they will not include top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek in a four-player package for superstar pitcher Roy Halladay, perhaps raising the chances that Halladay will be dealt elsewhere or maybe even stay with the Jays. The Phillies are believed to have told Toronto of their Drabek decision, but if they haven't yet they will inform the Jays very soon.
The Phillies remain nearly everyone's favorite to land star Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, and the teams are believed to have advanced to the point where they have discussed several of Philadelphia's top prospects -- including outfielder Michael Taylor, shortstop Jason Donald and pitcher Carlos Carrasco -- although, there's no evidence yet that the Phillies are relenting on top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.
This was supposed to be a disappointing trade season. Yet, there's been a flurry of trading activity already.
While the Phillies remain almost everyone's favorite to land superstar pitcher Roy Halladay, and the best-in-baseball Dodgers are now believed to be showing interest, two big-market contenders for the summer's big pitching prize -- the Yankees and Red Sox -- recently have been informed by the Blue Jays that their chances to land Halladay are slim.
The Rangers traded Mark Teixeira to the Braves with the first baseman 1½ years from free agency and obtained a bevy of prospects, including catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and shortstop Elvis Andrus, jolting the rebuilding of the franchise into hyper-speed. The Braves traded Teixeira with a half a season until free agency and acquired first baseman Casey Kotchman.
When teams start down the tricky path of shopping a superstar, they rarely turn back, and the superstar usually goes somewhere else eventually. However, executives who have spoken to the Blue Jays' management team of acting president Paul Beeston and general manager J.P. Ricciardi remain convinced Toronto could still wind up keeping ace pitcher Roy Halladay.
The Jays are serious about looking for a trade for superstar pitcher Roy Halladay, but they probably prefer to deal him out of the American League East, will want a premium bat back and likely have particular interest in a shortstop because breakout performer Marco Scutaro will be a free agent after this year, according to one person familiar with the team's inner workings.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi identified his asking price if he were ever to consider trading star pitcher Roy Halladay in an interview today, and he pretty much summed it up in one word: Boatload.
I'm Terry Francona, the manager of the Red Sox, and I have a job to do. I have six starting pitchers on this team that I'm supposed to be managing next Tuesday night in New York -- the American League All-Stars, you know, Yankee Stadium, this one counts, home-field advantage for the World Series, all that stuff? -- and I have to pick one to start.
In concept, the Ultimate Fantasy Draft is pretty simple: If you were starting a team from scratch, which players would you build around? Here's Nos. 21-30. (Last year's rankings in parenthesis.)