The sense of mystery exists no matter how many times one experiences a zero-to-zero score after the third inning. Six regulation innings are left and, sometime between then and now, someone is going to break across. It sounds ridiculous because there are probably hundreds of occurrences of a scoreless game after three innings throughout a season, but it felt like it occurred every time Roy Halladay pitched against the Rays.
Halladay pitched against the Rays six times last season and 34 times throughout his career with Toronto, which is unsurprisingly the third most of his career against any one team. The “story” metrics have him at 12-11 with a 3.67 ERA and four complete games, but never a shutout. Of those six starts in 2009, the scores after three were as follows: 1-0, 1-0, 2-2, 0-5, 3-6, and 2-0. Clearly, factual evidence is not a bedmate of nostalgia.
Nevertheless, two of the most memorable games from the season came from Halladay matchups, the first of which being an early July Thursday matinee where young David Price faced off against Doc. The rumors of a trade were well saturated by this point, but it seemed to affect Halladay not in the least. His final line told of seven innings, zero walks, eight strikeouts, and three earned runs.
The next game came nearly two weeks to the day as Halladay hosted Matt Garza a week before the trade deadline. Both pitchers went nine innings and Garza not only held his own, but showed the potential to be Halladay. He struck out a batter per inning and allowed not a single walk or homer. Halladay would make one pitch fewer despite facing three additional batters. Still, it was the Rays who came out on top at the end.
These games are completely irrelevant to the reader as most have their own memories of Halladay. I should be thrilled. No longer will he reside in the division, poaching divisional victories in those four or five starts. No longer will his scruffy beard have its own close-up approximately a thousand times per outing. No longer will I be jealous of his efficiency and delicate approach to pitching — by getting ahead and relentlessly pounding the zone until the batter grounded out weakly. But I’m not too joyous, because it means no longer will I be regularly exposed to one of the best pitchers of this generation.
Thanks for the memories Roy, now go make some for fans of NL teams.
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