The record-setting rain that swept through the Philadelphia area could have been kryptonite to Roy Halladay, who is a creature of habit. Halladay's military-style wakeup calls in the wee hours of the winter are legendary. The work ethic and routine he follows throughout the season aren't any less regimented.
Although Halladay's schedule was thrown off more than a couple times in the last month, he is yet again in the middle of a Cy Young race. Halladay held Milwaukee to one run on four hits in eight innings Friday as the Phillies won their fifth straight, beating the Brewers 5-3.
Halladay improved to 17-5 with a 2.44 ERA. He is the third NL pitcher to reach 17 wins, and his ERA is third best in the league.
But Halladay is more focused on prepping for the inevitable playoff run than his own stats.
"The consistency of going out there, I think, is important," Halladay said. "You get a substantial lead and they always want to back off and monitor, but as long as I can keep my pitch count up and go out every five days and try to stay on that program, the easier it is coming to the end of the season to be able to go out and throw 120 pitches when you have to."
Halladay's worst start of the season came five months ago at the hands of the same Milwaukee Brewers team. He allowed a season-high six runs on 10 hits in a 9-0 loss to the Brewers on April 19 at Citizens Bank Park.
In his 25 starts since, Halladay is 15-4 with a 2.37 ERA. He hasn't allowed more than four unearned runs in any start since and has allowed three or fewer in 22 of 25 games.
He's been so consistent that it's easy to take him for granted.
"When you look up there and see a 'W,' that's the whole point, that's the priority, to win the game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "When you see him pitch like that, you never take it for granted."
Ryan Howard hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give Halladay a healthy cushion before he even took the mound on Friday. Howard's 32nd home run of the season increased his major league-leading RBI total to 111.
"Roy was classic Roy tonight," Howard said. "You can go out and give him a lead early on, and it makes things a little bit easier."