The Phillies don't need Roy Halladay

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I promise that this is my last Roy Halladay post of the day. Unless I’m inspired to write another, anyway. Anyway:

Peter Gammons: “Phillies must make trade for Halladay

This would be the same Phillies team that is now 6.5 games up? I mean
sure, he’d be nice to have around, but do you really mortgage the
future for a marginal improvement in a race you already stand an
excellent chance of winning easily? Gammons says in the article that
“One player does make a huge difference,” with the implication that in
the postseason, having that ace could mean the difference between a
championship or going home empty handed. History, however, doesn’t bear
that out.

The Brewers may have made the postseason because of CC Sabathia, but
he didn’t get them anywhere in the playoffs. Same with the Cubs and
Rich Harden. Go back further and the story repeats itself with the 1987
Detroit Tigers and Doyle Alexander. Same goes for just about every team
to trade for an arm at the deadline in recent history, because in the past 30 years,
the only starting pitcher acquired midseason to win a World Series game
was St. Louis’ Jeff Weaver in 2006, and he was a salary dump. [CORRECTION:
I forgot Joe Blanton last year, but I don’t know that that changes
anything]. Weigh all that against the guys who were traded away for
those putative final pieces of the puzzle: John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell,
Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek. The list goes on and on.

Sure, Halladay is a special talent. And yes, maybe it’s a different
calculus if the Phillies and Mets were locked in an epic battle for
first place. But they’re not. The Phillies, in all probability, are not
going to have any trouble making the playoffs. Once they get there,
fate will play a greater role in determining whether they repeat as
champions than any one player’s fastball.

It would be nice to have Roy Halladay. If the Jays decide to sell
him at a bargan price you certainly make the deal. They are not,
however, in a “must” situation with this, and to the extent Gammons or
anyone else argues that they are, they’re mistaken.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.