Writing a post about how good Roy Halladay is as a pitcher is a lot like stating that bears live in the woods. Well, duh! Of course the guy is good. But last night, on a night he gave up four earned runs, showed a different level of good. It showed throwback good. While we'll have to see how he bounces back next start after throwing 133 pitches, last night's performance was breathtaking.
Halladay was cruising along after six innings with a six run (6-0) lead. Knowing Halladay, the Fan thought: "Game over." But then came the seventh inning. He loaded the bases with no outs and then a couple of runs scored. The Fan kept expecting Cito Gaston to pop out of the dugout, but nope. And nobody was even warming up. "Gulp," thought the Fan. And that's because the Fan has watched a million games of modern day baseball, when starting pitchers die routinely after six or seven innings (sometimes five). And managers of modern baseball never let a starting pitcher go very far when the other team seems to catch up to their pitchers.
But Halladay is a different cat. He's not the average modern pitcher and he hung in there and despite giving up a four-spot and allowing the game to get close, he found another gear and struck out five out of six outs in the eighth and ninth to finish off the game. No blown saves, no disappointing loss for his team. Just a gutty throwback, spectacularly impressive game.
Having a guy like that on your team goes a long way in preventing slides. It keeps hope alive in his teammates and for their fans. To get an idea, read this piece from a really good writer and a self-proclaimed homer. Even though the writer is a die-hard Blue Jays fan, his blog always tells it like it is, good, bad or ugly. His take of Halladay's performance shows what the pitcher means to his team and his fans.
Rob Neyer wrote in his blog of his concern for the pitch count, and that is a valid concern (99.9% of Neyer's concerns are valid). But it doesn't appear to be a case of a manager abusing a pitcher. Rather, it appears more to be a manager who knows when to let a warrior do his thing. Again, we'll see how he bounces back from this performance.