Big League Stew - MLB

As you read this, there is likely another Philadelphian crafting a MLB-a-Culpa to Cliff Lee(notes) over his morning TastyKake.

And why wouldn't there be? After being initially greeted like an Atari 2600 on a Christmas morning that was supposed to bring a Nintendo, Lee has more than earned the current shower of  "my bads" from the Philly faithful.

In his four starts since coming to the Phillies, Lee has earned four decisive victories and pitched two complete games, including a masterful 8-1 win over Arizona on Wednesday night. After 33 innings logged, Lee has posted 0.82 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and 34 Ks for the Phils and elevated a starting rotation that seemed destined to prevent a successful title defense.

Considering that, all of the standing Os for Lee's growing legend are well-deserved.

However, I'm inclined to say that Philly fans shouldn't feel the need to include Roy Halladay in all of the Lee tributes or, worse yet, put his considerable talents down and act like it was a blessing in disguise that they didn't end up with him at the trading deadline.

OK, so yeah, I know that J.P. Ricciardi spent a month of everyone's life trying to lure the Phillies into trading their farm system for Toronto's ace.

And I know that Halladay's performance since the deadline — 2-3 with a 3.41 ERA — hasn't come close to the unworldly effort that Lee has put forth.

And I know that most Philadelphia fans aren't quite wiping their brows and acting like they dodged a major bullet by not getting talked into Halladay ... at least not yet.

But if anyone wants to draw the natural connection between what might have been (Doc) and what actually is (Cliff), I'll just ask you to remember that it was Lee who 1) received the fortune of being sprung from a non-contending team, 2) was placed in National League and 3) actually now gets to pitch for a general manager who didn't make a big show of putting him on the trading block only to not do anything once he was there. 

Look, I'm not saying that Philly shouldn't be appreciating Lee's impressive debut — really, they should be going completely nuts — I'm just that there's no time for revisionist history down the stretch. No matter what happens over the final month, no matter what numbers either pitcher puts up, I don't think that anyone can act like Halladay wouldn't have done the same if given a reinvigorating chance at new playoff life. 

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