September 17, 2010
The fine Phillies fans of Philadelphia have taken to Twitter with a new campaign, one we're certainly familiar with in Toronto: #RoyForCy. And rightfully so. Doc's ERA, today a pristine 2.49, is the lowest of his career when he's thrown more than 200 innings. He's carrying an xFIP of 2.89, also the lowest of his career. His 8.05 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is the highest his ratio has ever been. Only 65 earned runs to his name. In 234.2 innings, no less. He's walked only 28 batters. His legendary cutter comes in 16.8 runs above average. His changeup, 5.5 runs above average, is the most successful it's ever been. Eight complete games. Three shutouts. One win shy of 20; a mere formality. Vintage Doc.
Harry Leroy Halladay III has dominated the National League. Like we knew he would. And therein lies the problem. It must be said: Doc's too good for the National League. He belongs in the American League.
Even though Toronto's starting pitching has been sublime this season, and even after watching Kyle Drabek throw utter filth at the Baltimore Orioles in his Major League debut, I'm clearly not over Halladay's departure. Perhaps I'll never be. I can't bloody buy in to the #RoyForCy campaign. Not as much as I should be able to. And for that I blame the Senior Sissy Circuit, and MLB's beyond-ridiculous divisional schedule.
Thanks to that schedule, Halladay's made 11 of his 31 starts -- 35% -- against the Florida Marlins, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals. Thirty-five-bloody-percent. Now, I know the Marlins and Mets are both, today, .500 ball clubs. They're playing .503 baseball, to be precise. But they're still the Marlins and Mets. And neither club has ever had a goddamn prayer against Roy Halladay.
Doc vs. the Florida Marlins:
5 GS, 4-1 W/L, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 38 IP, 2 BB, 41 K, 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .210 BAA
Doc vs. the New York Mets:
4 GS, 4-0 W/L, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 31.2 IP, 2 BB, 28 K, 2.56 ERa, 0.82 WHIP, .207 BAA
Doc vs. the Washington Nationals:
2 GS, 2-0 W/L, 14 IP, 5 BB, 14 K, 0.64 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .264 BAA
Doc's an artist. And by pitching in the National League against the chumps above, his talents cannot be fully appreciated. It's been far too easy. Throw in another two starts against the sad-sack Houston Astros; 16 innings, and only three earned runs.
I'll give Doc credit. I in no way, shape, or form mean to belittle what he's accomplished this season. Case in point, his exploits against the 83-wins Atlanta Braves:
2 GS, 2-0 W/L, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 18 IP, 2 BB, 14 K, 0.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, .164 BAA
In two complete game gems against Atlanta, Doc allowed one measly run. So cuttered, Atlanta. So goddamn cuttered.
That's what I want to see. Doc taking down the contenders. Not the pretenders. Unfortunately, that simply hasn't been the case. And I know it's not Doc's fault. He takes the ball every five days, no matter who he's up against. But only one start versus Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals? One start versus Adrian Gonzalez and the San Diego Padres? One start versus Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants? For shame, baseball.
Ironically enough, Halladay got his ass handed to him in interleague play. (Except for owning the Toronto Blue Jays.) A start each against the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and New York Yankees; all losses. Nineteen-and-two-thirds innings pitched, and 15 earned runs. Twenty-three percent of his season's total. I'd say he got used to pitching in the National League, wouldn't you?
What made Roy Halladay such a treat to watch in a Blue Jays uniform was the way he dominated the Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox, the Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox. He became the best, by pitching against the best, by never, ever backing down, year in and year out. Only four teams averaged more than four runs a game against Halladay over his career in the American League: Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Texas. The Athletics and Rangers clearly got lucky.
I miss him. I miss watching Doc every fifth day. I can't wait to watch him take the mound in his first playoff game. I'm rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series. And while, based on his numbers, he does deserve the Cy Young, the award will never stand up to the Cy Young he won in 2003, when he faced the Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Twins, and Seattle Mariners -- who all won more than 90 games, and a combined 475 between them that season -- 15 times.
Not all Cy Young awards are created equal.
Image courtesy of daylife.