The National League Cy Young Award reinforced that idea on Thursday. Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won the award with 27 first-place votes and 207 points, but the Phils had three pitchers finish among the top five in the Baseball Writers' Association of America's voting. Roy Halladay placed second with four first-place votes and 133 points, Cliff Lee finished third with 90 points, Arizona's Ian Kennedy finished fourth with 76 points and Cole Hamels placed fifth with 17 points.
Roy Oswalt, the fourth of Philadelphia's four aces, was the club's only starter not to live up to expectations in 2011. The right-hander battled a back injury that cost him much of the season.
NL Cy Young voting totals
The Phillies' rotation taken as a whole -- including starts from Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton -- had an impressive regular season. The unit's 2.86 ERA was the best in the Majors since 1985, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and its ratio of 7.88 strikeouts per nine innings was the Majors' 12th best since 1900. The 1.11 WHIP posted by Phils starters was the best since '75, and their rate of 1.87 walks per nine innings was the second best since '33. Their ratio of 4.22 strikeouts per walk was the best since 1900.
Kershaw, Halladay and Kennedy were the only pitchers to receive first-place votes.
Kershaw led the NL in wins (21) and strikeouts (248) in 2011, and he posted the Majors' best ERA (2.28).
Halladay -- who won the 2003 American League Cy Young Award and the NL Cy Young Award in '10, his first season with the Phillies -- went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and an NL-best eight complete games this past season. In 233 2/3 innings, the right-hander allowed 208 hits, 61 earned runs and 35 walks. He struck out 220 batters for a Major League-best ratio of 6.29 strikeouts per walk.
Lee finished 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA, and Hamels finished 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA.
According to the BBWAA, Halladay is the sixth Cy Young Award winner and fourth in the NL to finish second in the voting one year after winning the honor. He joined Warren Spahn (1958), Tom Glavine ('92) and Brandon Webb (2007) in the NL and Catfish Hunter ('75) and Jim Palmer ('77) in the AL.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.