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Roy Story 2

The Mets taking it to Roy Halladay [1] is a great thing. I’m not sure that’s who they beat up Monday night, however.

That couldn’t have been the Roy Halladay who gave the Mets and the rest of the National League fits in 2010 and 2011 after owning the American League for years prior. This was the Roy Halladay who encountered back and shoulder miseries last year and clearly hasn’t shaken the aftereffects [2]. If the Phillies want to send Roy 2.0, bugs and all, to the mound, then I have to be all for the Mets exterminating his pitches with extreme prejudice. He’s a pitcher in a Phillies uniform, period. Yet I surely didn’t derive any extra pleasure from the fact that the back of the uniform read HALLADAY 34.

’Cause that couldn’t have been the same guy who wore that uniform so vexingly for so long.

The 7-2 result, with seven earned runs charged to Halladay in four-plus innings? That’s for keeps, and we’ll keep it. But c’mon, that wasn’t the two-league Cy Young winner out there, not the man who threw one of the only two postseason no-hitters in captivity [3], definitely not the guy who entered Monday with a 9-2 lifetime record versus the Mets, neither of the losses having transpired over the past decade. Of course I wanted the Mets to prevail over the great Roy Halladay — but knocking around this fellow of deteriorating physical abilities didn’t fulfill that desire. I wanted the Mets to stick it good to the Halladay they had on the ropes but couldn’t quite knock out the last time I was in Philly [4], three years ago. I wanted the Mets to avenge the Halladay who dropped a Saturday night masterpiece on my buddy Jeff and me one weekend later. I wanted to get even with the Halladay who refused to be gotten [5] to the day before SEAL Team 6 got to a far more offensive enemy.

Let me stress again: I’ll accept the victory on behalf of the New York Mets. I’ll thank John Buck for continuing his MVP campaign [6], Daniel Murphy for stoking the hit-maker machinery behind the popular score and, most of all, Matt Harvey for being the kind of pitcher fans of other teams dream of getting to but can only dream (7 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 ER and 9 K without being nearly as suffocating on the Phillies as he was on the Padres [7]). Yet disposing of this Halladay so effortlessly…it wasn’t bitter, but somehow taking him over the wall and relentlessly pinning him up against it didn’t feel particularly sweet.

This twinge of not-quite-rightness doesn’t apply elsewhere on the Phillie staff, mind you. Slice and dice Hamels until he’s Cole slaw? Pass me a plate. Unsteady Kendrick until he has no choice but to keep on truckin’ toward the showers? I’m the red ball express of lovin’ for that. Make Lee surrender tonight? Please use Citizens Bank Park to re-enact the Battle of Appomattox Court House, a conflagration which went into the win column for the team from the north 148 years ago today.

The Roy Halladay of 2013, who looks suspiciously like the Johan Santana of the part of 2012 when he stopped looking like Johan Santana altogether…it wasn’t as much fun watching him get hit hard as it should’ve been.

But I’ll take it.

And I hope you’ll take a listen to my and Matt Silverman’s 1973-centric appearance from Sunday night on SportstalkNY Live, via podcast here [8].