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The Phillies' 4 Horsemen - Halladay, Lee, Oswalt & Hamels

Since the addition of Cliff Lee, several nicknames for the Philadelphia Phillies’ collection of staff aces have been bandied about.  R2C2 (ugh), The Phour Tops, The Phab Phour, The Phantastic Phour, Phour Aces…but only one name adequately sums up the fear that Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels will strike into the heart of batters in the 2011 season.  The Four Horsemen.  And I don’t mean the 1980s wrestling faction featuring Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Barry Windham (I was never an Ole Anderson fan).  No, I mean the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  And with the havoc these pitchers can potentially wreak on opponents this season, the best rotation in Philadelphia Phillies history may spell doom for the rest of the National League and carry them to their 3rd World Series appearance in 4 years.

Conquest-Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

Revelation 6:1-2 NIV

2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, certainly fits the bill as a conqueror.  The only of the four with a Worlds Series championship, Cole Hamels rebounded from subpar 2009 season to a stellar 2010.  Despite his won/loss record of 12-11, Hamels posted a 3.06 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) and 211 strikeouts.  As the number 4 starter, Hamels has a chance to take advantage of facing other teams’ fourth starters.  20 wins is not out of the question, and by feasting on the competition, a Cy Young award may soon be added to Hamels’ collection of “crowns.”

War-When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

Revelation 6:3-4 NIV

There is no more fierce competitor in the league than Roy Oswalt.  Oswalt posted a career best 1.03 WHIP last season.  The rest of his total stats were respectable, a 13-13 record, 193 strikeouts and over 211 innings pitched.  His numbers after being acquired by the Philadelphia Roy Oswalt will likely be facing the opposition’s third starter.

Famine-When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

Revelation 6:5-6 NIV

It’s hard to mention the word “wages” without thinking of surprise free agent acquisition Cliff Lee.  Opposing batters are certainly left starving when facing Cliff Lee.  In over 212 innings pitched last year, Lee only walked 18 batters.  He struck out 185 batters, posted an outstanding WHIP of 1.00, and his ERA was 3.18.  Most importantly, Lee brings a “swagger” to the Phillies’ rotation the more stoic starters lack.  It is this fire, this passion that, along with Lee’s formidable skills that endeared him to Philly fans during Lee’s amazing 2009 playoff and World Series run.

Death-When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:7-8 NIV

A perfect game.  The second ever no hitter in a playoff game in Major League

Baseball history.  21 wins and a Cy Young award.  Roy Halladay was everything the Philadelphia Phillies hoped he would be and more when they acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 2010 season.  A game in which Halladay pitched certainly meant “death” to the opposition.  Doc Halladay is the anchor of the best rotation in baseball, and there is no reason to think that 2011 will be any less spectacular.

The greatest asset this staff has is the internal competition.  Each pitcher wants to outperform the effort of his fellow starters.  This past season, Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt were often seen in the dugout together, comparing notes, talking about the batters they would be facing.  Add Lee to the mix, and certainly the combination is that much more lethal.  The Phillies’ Four Horsemen will be unleashed come April 2011, set loose to wreak havoc on opposing line ups.  And I cannot wait to see what decimation they deliver.


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