October 6, 2010

Mr. Doctober.

Before the National League Division Series showdown between the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds began, I predicted the Phillies to win in four.

I thought Game 2, a Roy Oswalt/Bronson Arroyo match-up, would be a guaranteed Phillies victory; Arroyo's nothing more than a competent journeyman, and Oswalt has been dominant both in Citizens Bank Park and throughout his career against the Reds.

And I figured Roy Halladay would end it all in a series-clinching Game 4 at Great American Ball Park; he'd have his postseason feet wet by then, and a typical Doc masterpiece would surely shut the door on any hope for the Reds.

But sweeping Cincinnati, an offensive powerhouse throughout the 2010 season, seemed too far-fetched. No, the Phillies would drop a game. Maybe Game 3, Cole Hamels vs. Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati. The first game at home for the Reds, a fired-up crowd, a hard-throwing young pitcher...

Or maybe they'd lose Game 1. Yeah, that might be it! As good as Halladay is, it's his first postseason start. Maybe he'll come out a little too juiced, give up a few early runs. Hey, maybe Edinson Volquez will throw a surprise gem. He's 2-0 with a career 0.73 ERA against the Phils. You know what, that is exactly what will happen. Man, this prognosticating is so easy...

Fast forward to right now, this instant, and I'm still shaking with excitement. Anyone that doubted Roy Halladay, even fans like myself with only the purest intentions, well, our questions, our fears, no matter how vague they might have been, were answered.

Can Roy Halladay carry his regular season dominance over into postseason play? Yes.

Will Roy Halladay be the playoff stopper, the unbeatable ace that the Phillies need to win another World Series? Yes.

Is Roy Halladay better than Cliff Lee? Emphatically, yes.

This was better than the perfect game. That was against a free-swinging Florida Marlins team that Roy picked apart, like an expert surgeon performing a simple, routine operation. Tonight was a playoff game against what seemed to be a worthy foe, and Roy Halladay rendered them helpless.

There's still a lot to do before another World Series berth is ensured. It would be nice if Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels threw a few gems of their own, and five hits isn't going to cut it in regular, hard-fought games.

But after seeing Roy make the Reds look like Little Leaguers tonight, confidence is certainly high. There's no reason at all that the Phillies can't win another World Series; now, they just have to do it. Now, the only question is: What will Roy Halladay do for an encore?

Tonight, someone (I can't keep track of all the Halladay-related talk) reminded us in a tweet that Doc, Mr. Doctober himself, bought the entire team engraved watches after his perfect game. "What will Roy get them this time?" he asked, only to answer his own question. "Rings."

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