Heavyweight Fight: Johnson vs. Halladay


JOSH JOHNSON: Age, 27 – 6’7″, 250 lbs

ROY HALLADAY: Age, 33 – 6’6″, 230 lbs

If HBO or Pay Per View are reading, I’d get the word out about this one right now. Forget Pacquiao/Mosely; Josh Johnson/Roy Halladay blows that title fight out of the water.

A year ago this month, the two men went toe to toe down in Florida, putting together an exceptionally pitched performance that was won in a TKO by Halladay. Oh, Johnson was superb, but Halladay was perfect.

This time around, they meet under relatively similar circumstances. Both men are at the top of their game and both men are at the top of the National League in several statistical categories.

Heading into Tuesday night’s matchup, here’s how they stack up:

Roy Halladay:

  • -Innings, 53.0 (1st)
  • -Wins, 5 (T-1st)
  • -BB/K, 8.14 (2nd)
  • -Strikeouts, 57 (T-3rd)
  • -ERA, 2.19 (5th)
  • -WHIP, 0.98 (7th)

Josh Johnson:

  • -WHIP, 0.85 (1st)
  • -BAA, .160 (1st)
  • -OPS, .444 (1st)
  • -ERA, 1.68 (2nd)
  • -Innings, 48.1 (7th)
  • -Strikeouts, 46 (8th)

The numbers are ridiculous. Halladay has been even better than last season, when he won his second Cy Young Award. He’s eating up innings and getting stronger as he goes.

Then again, Johnson, who at one point was a Cy Young favorite before bowing out late last season with an injury, has been a notch above his 2010-self. Only four starters since 1920 have allowed an OPS under .500: Bob Gibson in 1968(.469), Pedro Martinez in 2000 (.473), Greg Maddux in 1995 (.482) and Luis Tiant in 1968 (.495). Johnson is trying to join some elite company. And he’s only 27.

Last season, the two pitchers met twice. He first one will live on in the hearts of Phillies fans forever. But in that game, Johnson was done in by his defense, as an error allowed the Phillies lone run to score. He went seven innings, striking out six.

In the second outing on June 10, 2010, Johnson out-dueled Halladay, barely. Florida won 2-0 behind eight innings of shutout ball by Johnson. Halladay would go eight innings, giving up just one run while striking out eight.  It’s a shame someone had to lose each of those games because both deserved to win.

This latest matchup promises to be just as intriguing. And, it’s a fight well worth $50 to see.

(Thanks to ESPN stats for the OPS stat).

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