Of AL pitchers with at least 180 innings pitches in 2008, guess who faced the weakest competition according to BP's Quality of Hitters Faced Report?
26th out of 26th. Lee's average challeger was a .262/.330/.405 hitter.
At play here is the unbalaced schedule and an additional dose of good fortune. Lee faced the Royals five times, his most common opponent. His second most common foe was Minnesota, who he battled with on four occasions. Lee also snuck in two starts against both Oakland and Seattle each, as well as matchups against Oakland and San Diego. Really, all that was missing was a game against the Nats.
Halladay on the other hand, faced the second toughest set of hitters out of the 26 ALers who had over 180 IP. Slogging through another season of hell in the AL East (even Baltimore had a weirdly good offense this year). Halladay's average hitter was a .266/.342/.425 guy. Sure, that's not hugely different, but remember, we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of individual pitcher-hitter confrontations over five months.
Just something to think about when you cast your nonexistent Cy Young ballot.