MILWAUKEE When Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in December2010, putting the finishing brush strokes on a piece de resistance of a pitching rotation, the baseball world took notice.
The Phillies, it appeared, had just constructed one of the best rotations in the history of major league baseball.
That's not a title that anyone around the sport takes lightly, either. To be the best-ever anything in baseball requires a legendary amount of talent and skill, considering the sheer pedigree of players that have been a part of the league for over a century. But the Phillies, before they had even played a game, were undoubtedly the best, it seemed. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Roy Oswalt were mythically good, miles ahead of mere mortal pitching staffs that populated the rest of the majors.
The 2011 season only fed the media fire surrounding the Phillies' staff, as Philadelphia's rotation indeed turned in one of the best single season efforts in ...