If anything, the heat in the Roy Halladay kitchen got turned up Monday night, with the performances of three starting pitchers of teams in the Trading Deadline crosshairs.
This was the JS factor. As in, Jason Schmidt, John Smoltz and Jonathan Sanchez. And, Just Swap, for the Dodgers, Red Sox and Giants, respectively.
Neither Schmidt, coming off the shelf for his first start in more than two years, nor Smoltz, coninuing his tentative comeback, did anything to convince their teams they don’t need a top-shelf pitcher like Halladay.
Schmidt survived an ugly first inning against the Reds to go a mediocre five (five hits and three walks, three runs). Smoltz suffered a rare three-homer game against the Rangers (5 2/3 innings, six runs) as his ERA zoomed to 6.31 for five starts.
For those two teams, intently scouting Halladay, the contrast to Doc’s complete-game six-hitter over Boston the day before had to be startling.
Today, they are more motivated to come up with what Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi told Yahoo.com has “gotta be enough to move us. (W)e have to be blown away.”
How does Sanchez fit into this picture? The Cain-Lincecum Giants certainly aren’t in the market for pitching. Well, while the lefty’s work in Atlanta — four hits and three runs in six innings — wasn’t up to the no-hitter in his previous start, it was solid enough to raise his own market value. Sanchez’s eight strikeouts versus one walk satisfied interested teams which had been concerned aburt his control.
And the more attractive alternatives to Halladay that arise, the less likely is Ricciardi to find the treasure-trove of talent that will take to get Doc out of Canada.
– Tom Singer