Roy Halladay will be on the mound Saturday when the Phillies host Game 1 of the Division Series. When he does, the Phils freshly dissolved losing streak will be a distant memory, and Doc will be as poised as ever.
Halladay, a good bet to finish only third or fourth in voting in his quest to repeat as NL Cy Young, quietly ended his 2011 campaign with six dominant shutout innings Sunday, reducing his ERA to a career-best 2.35 ERA, one of the least known, least celebrated achievements this season. Doc has stayed on the fringe of the conversation for several reasons this year. Darling left-hander Cliff Lee has six complete-game shutouts and narrowly missed a couple more. He's already been recognized as the club's most valuable pitcher by Philadelphia sportswriters. And earlier in the season, one could argue that Cole Hamels was the Phillies' best pitcher, with numbers inflated only by his inaugural start (6 runs over 2 2-3 innings against the Mets on Apr. 5), then a seven-run shelling against the Mets July 16.
That just doesn't happen to Doc, and it certainly won't happen on Saturday. It's why the Phils were a good bet to snap their eight-game skid yesterday, even if he was treating it as a tune-up. The Phils' full lineup dropped 19 hits on the Mets heads in staking Doc to his 19th win, making it 29 hits in their last two games.