In the lunatic crab-fry-fueled bandbox they call Citizens Bank last night, Zach Duke outdueled Roy Halladay. Chew on that for a bit. Despite lasting but six innings, Duke still kept the league's best offense at bay with five strikeouts and no extra-base hits allowed in giving up one run. Halladay, no schlub himself, went the distance but got knocked around a bit more, giving up three key doubles.
In his first seven starts of the year, Roy notched six tidy wins and was on pace to finish with 30 wins given a 34-start season. But with a no-decision against the Rockies and last night's loss to the Pirates, the man everyone wants to go to the zoo with might only win 24 or 25. Quelle horreur!
We as baseball fans talk about unbreakable records and unreachable feats a lot; will anyone ever hit .400 again? Will any hitter break Joe D's consecutive game streak? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. There are, statistically speaking, ways of determining the probability of these feats, but of all these accomplishments, I especially want to see a 30-win pitcher. Sure, wins are not the best way to evaluate an individual's performance, but wouldn't that be cool anyway?
Think about it: a pitcher will only get, at most, 35 starts in a season nowadays. To win thirty games would take not only a dominating pitcher but a cooperative team behind him. And it seemed like the stars aligned this year for Halladay to be the dude to reach this magical plateau: a horse of a pitcher joining a team with a powerful offense and above average defense in a lesser league.
But no, Roy had to run headfirst into the befuddling Pirates, who can go from winning a series against the Dodgers to getting pummeled by the lowly Brewers, and from getting swept by the Astros to toppling the great bearded pitcher. Credit Duke, credit timely hitting from the Pirates, but most of all, credit the cruel mistress we call 'bad luck'. The biggest and best pitcher in the world sometimes cannot get the three runs he needs from his offense and our greatest hopes fall by the wayside.