So how many starts are Halladay, Oswalt, Lee and Hamels going to combine to make in 2011? A lot, we all hope, but over the past five seasons there have only been two years in which all four of those guys each made 30 starts, 2008 and 2009.

Halladay and Oswalt have made at least 30 starts in each of the five seasons.

Hamels has made as many starts (98) as Halladay over the past three years and more than Oswalt (Oswalt has made 94 starts over the past three seasons), but made under 30 starts in each of his first two years in the league (2006 and 2007). Since his age 24 season in 2008, Hamels had made at least 32 starts every year.

Lee has also made 30 starts in just three of the last five years. In 2007, he strained his groin during Spring Training and didn’t pitch till May. At the end of July he was sent to the minors with a 6.38 ERA for the season. When he returned to the Indians in September, he pitched out of the bullpen. Last year he made just 28 starts as an abdominal strain kept him from making his first start of the year until April 30.

Here’s the number of starts each of the four pitchers has made in the past five seasons:

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 AVG
Halladay 33 32 33 31 32 32.2
Oswalt 32 30 32 32 32 31.6
Hamels 33 32 33 28 23 29.8
Lee 28 34 31 16 33 28.4
Group total 126 138 129 107 120 124

So, over the past five years, the group has made an average of 124 starts a season. 2007 was the year in which they made the fewest starts (107) and 2009 the year of the five in which they made the most (138).

Over the last three years, the group has averaged 131 starts.

All four members of the group have started at least 28 games in each of the past three seasons. Lee started 28 games in 2010 after missing part of the early season with his abdominal muscle. In 2009, Oswalt was struggling with problems with his lower back at the end of the season for an Astros team that wound up going 74-88 and finished 17 games out. After throwing to a 5.81 ERA over his last five starts, Oswalt didn’t make a start after September 15 and wound up with just 30 for the year. The last time that Oswalt made less than 30 starts in a season was 2003.

The Phillies traded Sergio Escalona to the Astros for 23-year-old second baseman Albert Cartwright. The lefty Escalona made 14 appearances for the Phillies in relief in 2009, throwing to a 4.61 ERA and a 1.24 ratio. He was designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Romero on the 40-man roster. Cartwright saw his first action at Double-A in2010, hitting 229/289/271 over 154 plate appearances.