Inching towards mediocrity.


Halladazed

Well.

Last night’s game certainly didn’t go as planned. Especially for Roy “Doc” Halladay, our starting ace. He picked up his first ever loss agains the Minnesota Twins, in a generally decent outing – he went the whole nine frames and only allowed four runs. Vintage Doc? Not even close. But for most teams, it would have been good enough.

The Blue Jays offense, however, deemed the Doc’s performance to be less than stellar (which to be fair, for him it was), and scored only one run in the entire game. Perhaps they were expecting another one-hitter from Halladay, as in Friday’s game against the superior (to the Jays as well as the Twins) New York Yankees. Perhaps not. Either way, Halladay earned his ninth loss of the season, and not much else – except his seventh complete game, the current high in the American League.

So. Is Doc slipping? Is he still the dominating force in baseball he’s always been? Is he still the best pitcher in baseball?

It’s hard to say, really. I think the trade talks earlier may have gotten to him; also, as much as I respect him for it, I think his tendancy to play so many complete games is also taking it’s toll. (That, and the fact that it’s now September.)

If he were on a contending team, like say the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Phillies or the Dodgers, I’m sure he’d have twenty-plus wins by now easily. A nine inning game with only four runs given up is still pretty good; the Yankees or the BoSox would have easily given him the run support he needed. Not only that, but they would have (I’m assuming) properly pulled him from the game earlier. Doc’s insistence on throwing complete games is, I’m sure, as much his choice as it is necessity. When you’re bullpen is struggling, and somewhat depleted, you keep your Ace in for as long as you possibly can.

I’m sure Doc will return to his former glory by next season. The man is a competitor, straight up. He takes the game more seriously than perhaps, well, anyone. When he’s not pitching, he’s training. When he’s not training, he’s thinking about pitching. And so on.

Regardless of how he’s pitching next season, it may be his last with the Toronto Blue Jays. By the end of 2010, the face of the franchise will become a free-agent, and a fairly sought after one I’m sure. He’s not in it for the money, though; he’s in it for the win. Which, of course, does not bode well for our struggling team.

But more on that later. Tomorrow, in fact.

Until then, keep hitting those dingers!*

(* it’s like Don Cherry’s “keep your stick on the ice” saying, only more terrible!)

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