Halladay represents Blue Jays at ASG
Ace a throwback to when pitchers consistently went all nine
ANAHEIM -- Roy Halladay is a unique brand of pitcher in an era obsessed with pitch counts. The ace of the Blue Jays' staff entices hitters to swing, choosing finesse over flash and opting to overpower a batter only when absolutely necessary.
As a result, Halladay has become one of the game's premiere starters -- a throwback to a time when complete games weren't unordinary. This season, Halladay's style has baffled hitters once again, earning him a spot among the game's top talent on the American League All-Star squad.
On Sunday, Halladay was the lone Toronto representative named to this year's AL All-Star team -- his fifth career selection. The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game. This year's Midsummer Classic is being held at Yankee Stadium, which will close its historic doors after this season.
"I've been fortunate," Halladay said. "It's obviously an honor. It's a fun part of the season, so I'm definitely excited about the whole thing."
When asked for his favorite memories of his previous four All-Star selections, Halladay said it's moments like taking his two sons on the field that really stand out. This time, he's looking forward to bringing his family to the ballpark in the Bronx -- a stadium that has housed many legends over the years.
Halladay is the type of pitcher who would've fit in at Yankee Stadium in any of his storied decades.
"Doc could pitch any time -- in any era," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, discussing Halladay recently. "In the '70s, '80s, '90s, 2000s. Doc is a Hall-of-Fame type pitcher. If he can continue to stay healthy, I'm pretty sure he'll be there one of these days."
The All-Star Game will have to suffice for now, and Halladay is certainly deserving of being included this year. Entering Sunday, the 31-year-old right-hander was near or at the top of the Major Leagues in multiple categories. With a win over the Angels on Saturday, Halladay improved to 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA.
"The key is giving your team a chance," Halladay said. "You try to do that every time, regardless of what happens throughout the game. Whether you give up runs or not, you're always trying to battle and give your team a chance. It's obviously nice when the numbers reflect that."
Three of Halladay's losses came during a stretch of four consecutive complete games he turned in between April 12-29. It marked the first time that a pitcher went the distance and lost in three straight outings since Randy Johnson accomplished the dubious feat in 1999.
Those three starts represent only half of the Major League-leading six complete games that Halladay has notched this season. In fact, dating back to 2003, no Major League pitcher has logged more than Halladay's 32. Take it a step further, his 32 are more than 21 teams have over that span.
Halladay is able to last so deep into games due to his pitch-to-contact style. The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner has averaged just 14.16 pitches per inning this season and currently leads the league with 194 ground-ball outs. The approach has helped Halladay turn in a baseball-best 137 1/3 innings this year.
This isn't to say that Halladay can't turn to the strikeout when warranted. With a heavy sinker and his signature cutter, Halladay has fanned 113 batters this season -- good enough for fourth overall in the Majors. Along the way, he's issued only 20 walks, giving him the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the game.
Halladay -- an AL All-Star for the Jays in the 2002-03 seasons and again from 2005-06 -- has been on a strong run of late as well. Over his past 11 games, Halladay has gone 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 66 and walking just 10 over 74 1/3 innings. On Monday, Halladay blanked the Mariners over nine innings for his 10th career shutout.
It's no wonder then that Halladay made the AL team, representing a Blue Jays pitching staff that has been one of the game's top groups this season. Halladay said be believes a few of his teammates -- starters Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch, along with relievers Scott Downs and B.J. Ryan -- were also worthy of consideration.
"There's no doubt," Halladay said. "We have a couple guys who have pitched well and you'd love to see them go. Unfortunately, we don't get to pick. But, we've had a lot of guys on this team who have pitched really well."
None better than Halladay, though, so he's earned the ticket to Yankee Stadium.
Halladay was also asked for his favorite memory of the Yankees' home -- a question that forced a grin from the pitcher.
"None," he said with a smirk. "You never look forward to going there. I don't have any bad ones; it's just a tough place to pitch."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.