Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 10/9/11

Roy Halladay was exceptional in 2011.

Yeah, it’s just a sport, but baseball gets many people through the day, week, month, and more. Often times, we get wrapped up so deep in the twists and turns of a season, that we may fail to really understand what we’re seeing.

When it comes to the Phillies, we’ve become spoiled into thinking they SHOULD be the World Series champions. High payroll, 102 wins; yeah it’s easy to come to that conclusion.

But after a five-and-out in the postseason thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals – a season that was supposed to end in a trip to the fall classic that has now been cut well short of that – let’s talk about what was instead of what should have been.  Maybe it’s too soon, but it’s time to reflect. Reflect on what was an absolutely breathtaking season by Roy Halladay.

As the green tarp now lay on the mound, not to have a pitch thrown from it for another six months, we’ll very soon miss the days we got to see Halladay work his magic there.

Starting with Friday night’s loss to the Cardinals, many headlines will say that Chris Carpenter “out-dueled” Roy Halladay, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Halladay was fantastic and was done in buy his offense. Eight innings, seven strikeouts, and six measly hits is hardly a line that would lead you to believe he was out-dueled.

He was basically magic for 126 pitches. With adrenaline pumping through his machine-like interior, Rafael Furcal and Skip Schumaker did enough damage to stamp an “L” next to his name. Shame.

For Phillies fans during Game 5, it was easy to lose sight of just how great a pitching matchup it was we were watching. Halladay/Carpenter was about as good as it gets.

I liken it to watching a man struggle in quicksand. He’s fighting and fighting and only going backward because there is no one in sight to help him.

In the series, Halladay sat down 10 or more in a row twice. In Game 1, he retired the final 21 batters he faced following a second inning single. That’s seven innings of no-hit ball. In Game 5, Halladay clamped down to retire 10 in a row between the first and fourth innings.

And in the eighth inning, sensing the end could be near, Halladay surgically (sorry, overused with him) worked his way out of a bases loaded jam, finishing with 126 pitches.

All season we saw rocksteady performances just like this last one. Countless times Halladay would slip, but not fall; working his way out of a sticky situation unlike anyone else in the game. His first inning numbers were alarmingly ugly; a .717 OPS and 3.66 ERA in the opening frame would be murderous for many. For Halladay, it became the precursor to many a fantastic performance. Following his opening innings, his numbers became otherworldly.

In second innings Halladay pitched, his k/BB ratio was 16.00; an obscene figure. But that’s Halladay. Make the opponent believe they have something on you, and then take it away.

In 32 starts in 2011, Halladay had one start in which he gave up more than four runs. That means on only one occasion was Doc not able to keep his team in it to win it. Stability like that is impossible to match.

It’s fairly incredible that Clayton Kershaw’s numbers were slightly ahead of Halladay’s, but talk to me when Kershaw has done it for a decade.

Roy Halladay likely won’t win the Cy Young award this season, but to many he’s still the best pitcher in the game. And on Friday night, he showed the world why that’s the case.

And this season, he was a joy to watch every fifth day. Go back, look at the stats, soak in what you witnessed over the last 34 starts. Because seasons like that don’t come along very often. And we we’re lucky enough to witness it.

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