Armageddon has arrived. I hope you've stockpiled your canned goods.
Roy Halladay exited Friday's game with a strained right groin, and I think the Four Horsemen have just run through my backyard. Death trampled my tulips and Famine is eating the burgers off the barbecue.
I'm scared, hold me.
No pitcher means more to a franchise right now than Halladay. No one.
Roy Halladay has won 46 games the past three years (including this season). This is equal to about 22 percent of the Jays total victories. Almost every fourth game the Blue Jays win is because of Doc.
In comparison, CC Sabathia has won 33 games, for 14 percent of his teams' wins. Johan Santana has 39 decisions for 18 percent of the Mets wins. Cole Hamels has 33 wins that are worth 15.2 percent of the Phillies victories. Josh Beckett has won 39 times, giving the Red Sox 17 percent of their wins.
Sure, the argument could be made that the Jays don't win as much as the players teams above; but when they do, it is often because of Halladay. No one has less backup in the rotation, or weight riding on him with every start.
I wrote an article the other day, "The Worst is Over For Jays Fans (We Hope)." I was wrong, this is much, much, worse.
When Roy Halladay takes the mound every fifth day you expect him to win. He has an innate gift of being able to reacquire his focus in the middle of a team hitting him, and returning to dominance. Rarely do you see him leave a game early. The question lingers:
Has the horse broken down?
Halladay has gone over 100 pitches 10 times this season, including a monster 133-pitch game against the Angels eleven days ago. With pitch counts so diligently monitored these days, all Cito Gaston has to do with Roy Halladay is check to make sure his arm hasn't fallen off.
Halladay has 19 complete games over three years. No pitcher in the league has taken on such a heavy workload and lived to tell the tale.
This groin injury could be minor. Halladay could be back in the rotation before I type this word (I'm counting on it actually). This could also be the start of something terrible as well.
With as many innings as Halladay has pitched we could have just watched him peak. This could be the beginning of a series of small injuries that take away the Halladay we know, love, and rely on. I doubt it though.
His groin may be hurting, but I don't think that's the real problem.
The man is tired.
It's an obvious conclusion to make; and we haven't even gotten into the hottest months of the year yet.
The fatigue has begun to take its toll. Halladay would never admit it, and that's why Cito will make the executive decision to keep him in the clubhouse. Halladay pitches like every game is his last, and players can get tired. When you're tired it's easy to have your muscles fail you.
Halladay needed a break. He has a pitching staff full of guys looking up to him, asking for advice, and watching his every pitch. Halladay has nothing but high expectations for himself and he works like it.
Give him a week or two off, have J.P. Ricciardi take him to the spa. Get him a massage chair in the clubhouse, send him to Club Med for rehab assignments.
Give the guy a break.
Halladay's injury may say groin, but I say he just needs some rest. When he gets it, he'll be dealing like a man possessed upon return.
In the meantime, the Jays must adapt to life without Doc. It's like removing a load-bearing column in the clubhouse, but we can still prop it up.
The Jays have proven this year that there are guys who can pitch in the organization. It's time for them to take their cues from Doc and man up.
This season held terribly low expectations for this Jays team. Yet we're still here. Halladay has gone down for a nap, but the team remains. I'm sure Doc's last words before he left for his MRI were, "AVENGE ME!!!"
Still, the Jays need Doc to succeed and the quicker he returns, the better. We can't allow him to throw a single pitch though, until he is rested and ready to take on his former duties in full.
I opened the door to my fallout shelter and stepped outside this morning; and the world was still spinning. I rechecked Nostradamus' prophecy and realized that I was just reading a fantasy baseball magazine.
The end isn't near for the Jays.
It's just a little bit closer.