Remember When Roy Halladay Was Underrated?

2010 October 7

Just yesterday, both John Kruk and Nomar Garciaparra said they’d take C.C. Sabathia over any other ace in a Game Five of a division series. At the start of the season, Halladay was only 6th on MLB Network’s Prime 9 list of pitchers of the 00′s decade. Last year, Tim Lincecum won a poll on my blog in a landslide (I voted for Lincecum). And a few years ago, barely anyone but the hardest-core of baseball fans knew about the masterful workhorse north of the border.

It’s amazing what one season out of the AL East ghetto can do for a pitcher’s reputation. In 2010, Halladay pitched like he has for years now, only in the weaker NL and for the winningest team in baseball. His nine complete games and four shutouts equaled his output in 2009, and his ERA was just a bit lower, to go along with the best K/BB ratio of his career. He’s going to win the second Cy Young of his career, becoming the fifth player to win the award in both leagues. And of course, he threw the 18th perfect game in modern baseball history.

But all that was only a precursor. I knew the Phillies were going to make it back to the postseason and I wondered how Halladay could possibly outdo Cliff Lee’s performance for the Phillies last postseason. Halladay responded by throwing a no-hitter in his first postseason game, managing to completely overshadow a 10 K, 0 BB performance by Lee earlier in the day. He effortlessly disposed of a juggernaut Reds offense, with Jay Bruce being the only player to reach base on a walk. There were maybe two hard hit balls. Halladay was seemingly able to throw all four of his pitches in any count in any location. Much like his perfect game earlier this year, he made the improbable look routine and inevitable.

Halladay is the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw two no-hitters in the same season. He’s only the second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter — joining Don Larsen, who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series. The only way Halladay could top that is to throw one in the seventh game of the World Series against Lee.

So is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that Halladay is going to dominate the rest of the postseason? It’s not rational, but I don’t think I can envision a team scoring more than two runs off of him. Sure, it’s amazing what one season can do, but it’s even more incredible what one game can do.

Why does he have to pitch for the Phillies? Goddamn it.

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