Halladay hit it off with Philadelphia immediately. A blue-collar type, his work ethic is legendary. His intense demeanor on the mound is endearing. In short, Halladay was perfect for this town, and the fans responded to him well.
Unfortunately, Halladay's tenure wasn't all perfect. In 2012 the injury bug finally brought Halladay down into the human realm, and in 2013 it only got worse. He finally had the shoulder surgery he needed, and since his return, he's struggled to throw strikes. After two amazing seasons, he's had two very-iffy seasons, if not downright bad ones.
Halladay's post-season performance is even a mixed bag. So many Philadelphia fans, in our negativity, will remember game 1 of the 2010 NLCS, when he was outdueled by Tim Lincecum. Of course, even more will remember the excruciating 1-0 game 5 loss in the 2011 NLDS to Chris Carpenter. Hopefully more of us remember his game 1 no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS, his legendary injury-riddled start in game 5 of the 2010 NLCS, and his gritty game 1 performance in the 2011 NLDS. Halladay hasn't quite got the ring he came here for, but it's not because he was bad on the biggest stage. His team let him down.
Last night, Roy Halladay might have thrown his last start at Citizens Bank Park. That is entirely relative to how the Phillies feel about him, Kyle Kendrick, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, but it's strongly possible. While it's amazing he came back as fast as he has from shoulder surgery, Doc is walking as many guys as he strikes out, if not more, right now, and his velocity is still only in the upper-80s. His fall from being the top pitcher in the game to being human has been fast, and cruel. The reality of his situation with the Phillies is that they probably can't bring him back and guarantee him the number three slot, as he's not that kind of pitcher at this point. If the Phillies bring back Doc, it will be at a far reduced price, and in a much less pivotal role than the last few seasons. The whole season was derailed twice in a row by hoping for a healthy Doc, and as a man entering his late 30s, it's hard to bet on him now.
Doc's season did yield win #200, and I think that pretty much cinches his fate. Halladay's journey will end someday in Cooperstown, with a plaque enshrining him. The odds say he will go in as a Blue Jay, which is well deserved, and we'll all look favorably on that. The sentimental side of me hopes that we'll see him in the Phillies red pin-stripes next April, but the practical side of me is unsure that this makes any sense.