Did Workload Hurt Halladay?


halladay 0523 2010.jpgRoy Halladay
suffered his worst start with the Phillies today at Citizens Bank Park, and you knew the questions would turn to his heavy workload in recent weeks. How much did it play a role in his struggles against the Red Sox?

“Not a damn thing,” Charlie Manuel said.

“From the horse’s mouth, it didn’t affect me,” Halladay said. “It was just a matter of not making good pitches. That’s the bottom line. You prepare yourself obviously all winter and all season to be able to handle the workload. That’s your job as a starting pitcher. I feel like I’ve done that and I feel good going out there. Obviously, people are going to say what they want to say.”

We knew this much about Halladay before he stepped onto the mound today: He led Major League Baseball in innings (71 1/3); he ranked second in pitches per game (111.8) and fourth in pitches thrown (1,006); he had thrown 118, 119, 121 and 132 pitches in his previous four starts, which were the most pitches he had thrown in a four-start stretch in his career; and his 111.8 pitches per game were the most he had averaged in his career.

Halladay allowed eight hits, seven runs (six earned runs), two walks and one home run in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one. It is just the second time in Halladay’s career he struck out one or fewer batters in five or more innings. It last happened June 3, 2006.

He didn’t seem to have his best stuff.

Why was that?

The Phillies said before Sunday that Halladay, 33, had adjusted his routine in between starts because of the increased workload. He skipped his bullpen session and instead threw on flat ground. I asked Rich Dubee on Friday about Halladay’s workload. He said they planned to keep him fresh by giving him extra rest in between starts. In other words, they planned not to have him pitch every five days, regardless of the schedule. If there was a day off, they would let him get that extra day. If there was a rainout and a day off, they would let give him the extra two days.

But the focus goes back to his start Tuesday against the Pirates. Should Halladay have thrown 132 pitches in a complete-game 2-1 loss? Asked why they felt comfortable having Halladay pitch the ninth, Dubee said, “Charlie wanted to send him out.” Was he comfortable with it? “I’m not going to talk about it,” he said.

Halladay had thrown 130 or more pitches just twice previously in his career. Interestingly, he threw one shutout and one complete game in the starts following those 130-pitch starts. He threw 130 pitches Aug. 9, 2008 against Cleveland, and allowed one run in nine innings at Boston on Aug. 16, 2008. He threw 133 pitches against the Angels on June, 2, 2009, and threw a shutout June 7 against Kansas City.

It’s May. The Phillies have lost four of the last six games Halladay has pitched, although this is the only the second game that can be traced to Halladay’s performance. And even then the Phillies scored just two runs in the two losses (at San Francisco on April 26 and today vs. Boston). Before everybody starts freaking out, let’s see how Halladay responds Saturday against the Marlins in Miami. Maybe it’s just coincidence. We’ll find out soon enough.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

22 Comments

I think I’m going to put some popcorn on the stove while I sit and wait for the mule man’s comments on this post.

It’s going to be easy for the naysayers to blame the pitch counts for Halladay’s game today. It’s ridiculous and I think Roy and the coaching staff is over-reacting. I think the changes in his routine are probably more of a factor than pitch counts.

Also, this part worries me, since everything I’ve read about Roy suggests that he’s a creature of habit: “The Phillies said before Sunday that Halladay, 33, had adjusted his routine in between starts because of the increased workload. He skipped his bullpen session and instead threw on flat ground.” He must have really been sore to skip his bp session?

And what would Nolan Ryan say about pitch counts and workloads? The only position in modern sports where the bigger,stronger athlete has gone backwards.

The last time Doc had an outing this bad was about a year ago. Against?…..Boston. Maybe it’s the team. Not the pitch count.

If Halladay is creature of habit and he changed his habits, why did he do so? It might be due to the work load. If not then what? Maybe he is hurt which may or may not bring it back to the work load.

I beg to differ with the assertion that baseball is the only sport where the bigger and stronger players have gone backwards. Assuming arguendo that baseball players have. The best example is football. How many two-way players are there today? How many kickers where there in days of old? How many short yard running backs, third down pass defense linemen or long kickers, short kickers, and punters were there in the good old days? I know Paul Horning was a running back and a punter. I know George Blanda was a quarterback and a kicker. And I believe Lou Groza multi-tasked at times. I don’t know for sure, but I would bet that N

As I was saying, I would bet that NFL rosters today are markedly larger than they were 40 or 50 years ago.

Charlie’s comment seemed a bit overly defensive and you will recall what they say about people who are overly defensive. At this point, the pitch count is not THAT big a deal. It’s only late May. However, in July or August is when Halladay may be less effective, if these high pitch counts continue. Not to panic, Yet. But stay tuned fans.

Not the sport, just the position of starting pitcher..seems that way but I could be wrong..I read an interesting article in S.I. about Texas and Nolan Ryan recently and their thinking.

I thought all you pitch count freaks were worried about October, not May. I stand corrected, you’re just as worried NOW. Stop. Maybe the Phils could have scored a few runs? That might have helped.

I hope those of you in the area read Bob Brookover’s piece in the Inky today. If not, here it is:
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20100523_Inside_the_Phillies__Too_much_worry_over_pitch_counts.html

Re article: Halladay states his 505 combined innings in 2002 and 2003 had nothing to do with his shoulder injury which limited him to 133 innings in 2004. Rather, it had to do with his spring training prep in 2004 which occurred he explains because ( drum roll, please) he changed his routine. So now he changes ( drum roll , please) his routine early in the season rather than in spring training and somehow this is a different change? We know so because he tells us? Didn’t we listen all of last year Lidge claiming there was nothing wrong with him? Of course, this carried a lot of weight until (drum roll, please) it was revealed that there was something wrong with him. Does Halladay have some kind of medical degree of which we are not aware which makes him capable of making his own diagnosis? I don ‘t give a frig whether or not Halladay completes games or not as long as he wins. His last two starts included 2 losses, one of which he completed and one which he did not. The limitation on the number of pitches has nothing to do with him posting totals comparable to Carlton or Ryan. In his 13 Halladay has not establish anything showing he could carry either of their jocks. He is what he is: the best of a bad lot to whom the Phillies owe a lot of money.

Lot to be said for Norma’s coment. Career vs BoSox Halladay is: 14-14 with a 4.28era. (his ERA in Fenway is 4.08 so it’s not that he can’t pitch in Boston, guys) GUess we should not pitch DOc against Boston unless it’s the playoffs.

Looking at Halladay’s game logs from last season http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n1=hallaro01&t=p&year=2009
and found a game on June 2 where he threw 133 pitches in a CG win over the Angels then came back on the 7th to throw a 97 pitch shutout against KC.

In July he had 4 games from the 9th to the 29th where he threw 119, 105, 115 and 115 and was 1-3. So, the guy is human. He’s not un-hittable, and in fact, gets roughed-up every now and then, pitch counts notwithstanding.

A lot was made of his knowing the Sox hitters, but as others have pointed out, the Sox hitters know him too.

I’m tired of hearing about pitch counts. McCarthy started in the first inning yesterday, and he’s relentless with the number. What would they do if the scoreboard didn’t have that number flashing after every pitch? They’d have to go back to griping about umpires I guess.

Keep in mind that if Dobbs hadn’t made that awful error and if Youkilis’ hit in the 1st had landed in Victorino’s glove instead of grazing it, Halladay’s run total would’ve been much different. Also the Phils offense is in sleep mode at the moment. LA said yesterday that often the offensive funk for Phils starts around inter-league play.

I think folks except so much from Halladay that when he faulters they need to find a reason for it. Could be this all a coincidence that this game is following the high pitch count game.

Before pherrisphain pounces on me for my typo in my last posting, let me correct that I meant EXPECT not EXCEPT. Also FALTERS not FAULTERS. So sorry :-)

So now we hear that Halladay is human. To quote a great American, “Doh”. The upshot is that Halladay is good not yet great. Which begs the question, “Did the Phillies give up too much to get him?” I submit that the Halladay deal is just another one of Junior’s fiascoes. Another obstacle to be overcome.

karen62: negative strokes are better than no strokes at all. Thank you, Honey.

FIJ: Can’t believe I’m doing this, but the great American and expression D’oh pherrisphain is referring to is Homer Simpson of the Simpsons fame; one of the greatest comedies ever.

Pherris: FIrst of all, the saying is, “Duh” with a “U” (please use spell check in future)
Second, what did they give up? A so called top of the rotation prospect who isn’t doing so great in his first year in AAA (5-4 3.49 era), a “great” outfield prospect who is hitting .232 with 2 HR and 22 RBi in 125 AB and a catcher who would only be a bench player with the Phillies (until Ruiz retires). ALl this for a CY Young winner and a true ACE of the staff. You’re right Pherris, we got robbed (not)!!!

Well, I guess living overseas (and not being a SImpson fan) just caught up with me. I’m sorry for the comment, Pherris (I cna’t believe I’m doing this either) but the rest of the post stands.
BTW: Pherris, between May 26-June 3, 1972 Steve (Lefty) Carlton pitched 3 games. In 18.IP (ave of 6 innings a game) he gave up 14 earned runs (ERA of 6.96). You want to tell me he wasn’t great either (this was the year, in case you forgot, when he went 27-10 with an ERA of under 2.00 for a team which won only 59 games. Pitchers have dry spells just like hitters do.

Hey, pherris! I gave you a “negative stroke” the other day, and got flack for it. Karen gets a “thank you, honey”? What the heck?! LOL!

Hey norma, for whatever slight you think I may have given you let me say , thank you Babe.

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