Sep 112010

Phillies ace Roy Halladay

September 11

NEW YORK – Roy Halladay has three years left on his Phillies contract, maybe four if his option for 2014 kicks in.

That can’t make the New York Mets very happy.

Halladay beat the Mets for the fourth time this season on Friday night. And if 7 2/3 innings of four-run, no-walk ball wasn’t enough, Halladay even contributed a two-run single to the Phils’ 8-4 win.

Halladay moved into a tie for the National League lead with his 18th win. His five strikeouts raised his league-leading total to 201. He is poised to become the Phillies’ first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982 and the club’s first right-hander to win 20 since Robin Roberts in 1955.

Someday, Halladay may join those guys in the Hall of Fame.

For now, he’s happy to be in his first pennant race after a decade in Toronto, where September was the time to clean out lockers and plan for the offseason.

“It’s a lot of run – really what the game is all about,” Halladay said of being in a pennant race. “You look forward to coming to the field every day and you’re not packing boxes.”

With their win, the Phillies maintained a one-game lead on Atlanta in the NL East.

Halladay has been right-handed death on division opponents this season. He is 11-1 with a 1.41 ERA in 12 starts against the East this season. He has four starts left, all against NL East teams.

Halladay is 4-0 against the Mets this season. In 31 2/3 innings, he has 28 strikeouts and two walks.

“He’s one of the best in the game – if not the best,” Mets’ third baseman David Wright after Friday night’s game. “He’s a real bulldog.”

Manager Charlie Manuel saw some of that bulldog when he went to the mound to take the ball from Halladay with two outs in the eighth inning and a runner on second.

Halladay, a complete-game addict who leads the majors with eight of them, glared at Manuel.

“That’s OK,” Manuel said afterward. “I’ve got blue eyes and I can glare right back. He’s intense. And he’s very good.”

Halladay wanted to finish the inning and at 116 pitches believed he had gas in his tank. But he understood Manuel’s decision.

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