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You need a scorecard for this Phillies team, but can Halladay be Phils' first RH 20-game winner in 55 years?

BY TOM SCHALATA, JR.
Injuries have plagued this Phillies team of 2010, and the roster has changed almost daily. But despite this revolving line-up card the Phils remain just a couple games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves.

Try a starting line-up that has featured these household names: Greg Dobbs, Cody Ransom, Wilson Valdez, Domonic Brown, Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr., and Ben Fransisco. Add former Seattle Mariner, Mike Sweeney, to the list, who the Phillies just acquired to replace the injured Ryan Howard.

Not exactly the Howard, Utley, Victorino, Rollins regulars we are used to. But as I said, they are hanging in there. We can only hope Roy Oswalt will make his second appearance in a Phillies uniform more memorable than his first.

Took in a Reading Phillies (Phillies AA Club) game recently, with a few friends, and my friend, Dave, is a walking statistics machine. He remembers stats, trades, games, etc. from the 1950's through the present. He should be working for the Elias Sports Bureau or in the Phillies Press Box, because he is a storehouse of more Phillies info than anyone I know!

During the game, (when the R-Phils were down 4-0) Dave casually leaned over in his seat and asked, "Do you think Halladay can win 20 this year?"

After the debate, he followed up with this question, "Who was the last Phillies right-handed pitcher to win 20 games?"

I threw out some names, but knew darn well that Dave knew the answer. Finally, he quipped, "Robin Roberts."

He immediately backed that up with a few stats, "Carlton won 20 five times as a lefty, (actually Dave it was six times, I looked it up), and Jim Bunning won 19 three times (that's right, Dave, but he did win 20 for Detroit), but Roberts is the last righty to win 20."

I wasn't out to prove Dave wrong, but I just couldn't believe that the last right-handed 20-game winner for the Phillies was 55 years ago. The fact is, I can't find any evidence to disprove it.

Amazingly, Roberts' six 20-game years came in succession (1950 thru 1955), and he won 19 in 1956.

Chris Short won 20 in 1966, but he was a lefty.

Curt Shilling's best year was 1997 with 17 wins. Although, he did win 22 for Arizona and 21 for Boston.

Larry Christenson won 19 for the Phillies 20 years earlier, in 1977, and he was a righty, too.

Right-handers, Dick Ruthven and John Denny, hurled their way to 19-win seasons in 1980 and 1983, respectively.


That's about it. So, if you want savor the Phillies' last right-handed 20-game winner, you have to go back 55 years to the recently departed Robin Roberts.

He was a great pitcher for the Phils, but let's hope Halladay can break the streak here in 2010.

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