The Doctor is sick.

I know to some of my readers the thought of a sport not played on ice is just plain silly, especially with the start of the NHL season only hours away. But if you can believe the bizarreness of it all, not only do other sports exist, one of ‘em is even into its post season right now.

If it helps any, I put the TSN NHL Season Preview on in the background for about 15 minutes earlier, but it was in low volume and I didn’t pay much attention so I barely made out Pierre McGuire saying ‘Canadiéns’ and ‘last.’ The point is, the following post does not reflect my lack of excitement for the start of hockey season – in fact I’m absolutely retarded with anticipation – but I am a huge baseball fan as well and yesterday began a post season I’ve been waiting a decade for.

Roy Halladay is my favourite baseball player of all time. I watched a TON of baseball before he came around and witnessed many players have some pretty substantial careers but never have I EVER loved a player like I love the Doctor.

Yesterday, in the first playoff performance of his career, Halladay served up only the second post-season no-hitter in history of the game and he did it against the best offence in the National League. He had one walk, eight strikeouts and needed just 104 pitches to do it.

After this there will be no arguments about who the best pitcher alive is – a fact only previously unproven due to a career cutoff by a border – and the things I have to tell you are no longer going to prove jack squat to anyone. But I did a good 25 minutes of legwork a few days back and I’m telling you what I learned whether I’m playing Captain Obvious or not.

This was supposed to demonstrate Halladay’s clear Cy Young-winning season but will now simply be a display of the man’s greatness. So many sports writers jump to use the word ‘otherworldly’ for any superstar but I believe it should be reserved for the truly magnificent.

Roy Halladay is otherworldly.

Philadelphia’s first taste of Doc has been a good one, as the 33-year-old horse tossed up typical Roy Halladay numbers: a ton of innings (250.2), top-five strikeouts (219), top-five wins (21-tied for first in baseball), top-five ERA (2.44) and a massive lead in complete games (9).

But, as I will demonstrate, these numbers, which are good enough on their own for a Cy Young, are a stunted version of what could have been. As was always the case in Toronto, even what I thought was the best batting lineup in baseball often failed to provide Halladay with a clutch hit and/or run this year to get him the win he almost always deserved.

I looked a little further into it and went through Halladay’s game log for the entire season. What I found was even more disgusting – in a good way – than I first thought.

Here’s a glance:

  • Halladay started 33 times this season. He had 31 decisions.
  • Halladay gave up more than three earned runs just eight times. He lost five of those, which means in 33 starts his team bailed him out three times. It also means in 25 of his starts he pitched more-than well enough to win.
  • In Halladay’s other five losses, he pitched at least seven innings with three or less earned runs. But his team failed to score more than three times in all of them, something they failed to do in 17 of his 33 starts.
  • He had two no decisions. He gave up two runs over 6.1 innings in one. And in the other? 9.0IP 0R 0ER 5H 1BB 9K
  • Of his 33 starts, Doc pitched at least seven full innings 28 times. He pitched less than six innings (5.2) just once.
  • Halladay led in innings pitched, as always (250.2) but did not lead in pitches thrown (3,568) showing his unwavering ability to entice hitters to swing at pitches they can’t hit.
  • Halladay had four shutouts but left the game 10 times without having given up an earned run. He left six times with just one and another four with only two.
  • He gave up four runs three times, five runs three times and six runs twice. But on only two occasions did he give up as many earned runs as he had innings pitched. And those were 6ER over 6.0 and 5.2 innings pitched.
  • While one of his complete games was a no decision, he also lost a CG 2-1. He won 1-0 three times – including his perfect game – as well as games 2-0 and 2-1.
  • In all his games, Halladay way pulled from the mound mid-inning just three times, meaning 91 per cent of the time he either finished the game or left due pitch count only, not because he had fallen into trouble.

Aside from being just another example of how unbelievably nuts the statistical aspect of baseball really is, those figures tell some crazy truths about how good Roy Halladay’s season might have been had he gotten a little luck.

With just a little more run support from a lineup that should have been giving it to him in spades in the first place, Doc could have easily won 25 or 26 games this year. Not that a perfect game, a no-hitter in the playoffs, a Cy Young (let’s face it, he’s getting it) and a World Series title (please, please, please, please) don’t make a memorable season but tossing in a record of 26-5 would’ve made it one of the greatest seasons of all time.

If it isn’t already.

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One Response to “The Doctor is sick.”

  1. D'Arcy Kavanagh Says:

    Great arguments for a great pitcher, SS. He reminds me of another great one from an earlier era, a guy who didn’t get a ton of support but dominated with the same kind of stats – Bob Gibson. I think if you also check their style of delivery, they weren’t too far apart in their hip motion and angle of release. Then there’s the matter of brains. Gibson was ahead of most batters before they even got into the box. As for Doc, no one is more analytical in today’s game.

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