The last time Roy Halladay threw at Nationals Park in DC he wound up covered in icy champagne and beer as the Phillies celebrated their clinching of the 2010 NL East crown after Doc threw a complete game shutout.
That September victory was certainly not Doc's first successful outing against the Nationals. In fact, Doc was a fantastic 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA against them last season in which he allowed only one earned run and sixteen hits over three stars. He's also 8-1 against the Nats for his career.
Halladay hasn't missed a beat on the mound early in 2011, allowing one earned run in his first start against the Astros and keeping the Mets off the board through seven innings of work last Thursday. In what is perhaps the only minor knock on Doc early this season, Roy hasn't been able to pitch as deep into games as we become accustomed to seeing him do last year. Part of that is Charlie Manuel not wanting to push his ace too far in game No. 1 of 162, but it's also Roy being a little less efficient. At least that's what he'll tell you.
Doc was asked by Jayson Stark last Thursday following his seven innings of shutout work against the Mets if he's as dialed in as he's ever been. He admitted to feeling pretty good about his stuff, but wanted to be more efficient. This after throwing 21 first pitch strikes that day. That's like Jessica Biel telling you she thinks she's looking pretty good these days, but needs to do a few more butt crunches.
Doc did look a bit unhappy with home plate umpire Mike Everitt's strike zone on on a number of occasions against the Mets, and was seen chatting with him between innings. It's not the first time Roy has talked to an ump between innings, but what exactly is the conversation there?
"I'm just trying to find out, you know, really where he's at," Roy Halladay said. "I think for a pitcher it's always hard to see exactly where the balls are, you can't really tell if you're a couple inches on or off, up or down. Just trying to find out from him how close it was. Just trying to get a read really."
But isn't talking to an ump a tightrope walk that could get you in trouble?
Doc also said that his status as one of the best pitchers in the game doesn't help him sway an ump into making any calls in his favor.
"I wish I could talk them into calling pitches for me but it's never worked," Doc said. "Really for me, I think it's two fold. One, obviously trying to find out where you're at, and two, I think anytime you can talk to those guys, they can give you feedback and at least you have an idea of where you're at and where they're at."
"Everybody I've ever talked to said to ignore them. Sometimes that's hard to do. I've had conversations with a few of them over the years. As long as you just establish you're trying to find out where you're at and not questioning your judgement, I think you're okay. As soon as you start telling them they're doing something wrong, that's when you start getting in trouble."
So all of you fans sitting out in the stands [yelling] at an ump for missing a call, Roy Halladay says you're doing it wrong.
Halladay (1-0, 0.69) vs. the evil John Lannan (1-0, 3.60) tonight, 7:05 scheduled start time from sunny Washington, DC.