Of Roy

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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Matt B.

That’s funny, as a Jays fan I have always believed Roy has been relatively unlucky against the Rays for most of his career, a team that seems to hit him pretty hard. I remember they had a very aggressive approach, seemingly swinging at the first pitch nearly every time up. Maybe that approach was neutralized by the development of his cutter, especially to the lefties in that lineup? We will miss Roy, he has flown under the radar (fangraphs readers excluded of course) who I feel will thrive in the NL and any intense pressure of a penant race/playoff run. I still think he deserved that Cy Young that Lee won, but oh well!


Matt B.,

I’m a Jays fan as well. I agree that Doc will thrive in a pennant/playoff type atmosphere due to his relentless focus and preparation. As much as I love the guy I can’t agree with your stance that Halladay deserved the Cy Young over Lee in 2008. Halladay was behind Lee in almost every category that matters. Definitely deserved the runner-up spot, which he got, so no complaints here.

Matt B.

Sorry, strength of schedule alone should net him the award.

Wins and losses aren’t something a pitcher controls, unless they finish the game (normally) but Halladay had a stretch of 4 straight CGs (yes, 4 straight) and he took a loss in 3 of them.

The wins and losses are more a result of 4.72 run support vs 6.13, in favour of Lee.

Don’t get me wrong, Lee is a deserving candidate, but I think Roy all things considered was the better pitcher.

9 CGs vs 4 for Lee
4.72 run support vs 6.13
2 more GS
lower WHIP
23 more IP
36 more Ks
better K/BB
better K/9
lower P/PA
lower P/IP
way better GB/FB ratio
lower opp. OPS and OBP
way lower opp. BA
higher AGS (avg game score)
2nd most quality starts in AL with 23 – tied with Lee

What stats were you talking about again?