The crowd at Yankee Stadium got to see what a true Ace looks like Tuesday night, only it wasn’t The Kid, who had already turned the ball over to Dan Giese (who?) before the second Seinfeld episode was over on my local Fox affiliate. It was Roy Halladay who, pitching without his best stuff, showed everyone exactly what the Yankees are missing.
The Major League’s leader in complete games this decade was far from complete last night, but he battled through six innings, managing to hold the lead long enough for the Blue Jays light offense to blow up the home team’s inept bull pen.
Yankees fans can only hope that Joba Chamberlain stopped sulking, swearing and throwing his glove in time to realize that he could learn a lot from arguably the game’s best pitcher. When Halladay is on, he is about as unbeatable as anyone in the sport. But what separates the great ones like him from the very good ones like Chien-Ming Wang and even Josh Beckett, is how he pitches on days when his control is a little off or his fastball isn’t sinking the way it normally does. A true Ace is defined by how he pitches when he only has third starter stuff.
Halladay has become the model of consistency. The Jays can turn to him every fifth day and know they exactly what they’ll get. He has gone at least six innings in every start since last July. Given his pitch count restraints, it’s conceivable that Chamberlain may only make it through six innings a handful of times for the rest of the season.
It’s only June 4 so talking about the division races might seem premature, but it clear that the Jays have a top notch No. 1 starter in Halladay and all the Yankees have is a guy they want to become Halladay. For their sake, Joba better be up to the challenge.
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