Halladay’s Start Raises Concern

Roy Halladay insisted today he is fine.

Is he really?

He struggled terribly in 2 2/3 innings at Bright House Field against a lineup featuring some Detroit Tigers reserves. He allowed six hits, seven runs, four walks, one wild pitch, two home runs and one hit batsman. He lacked tempo and command throughout the start. He also lacked velocity. One scout said his fastball hit just 86-88 mph on the radar gun. Other reports had other gun readings clocking his fastball a mile or two less than that.

Halladay’s velocity has dropped since his first two Grapefruit League starts, when he sat in the 89-91 mph range. It dropped into the 86-88 mph range in his third start before sitting in about the same area Tuesday.

Halladay appears to be going in the opposite direction with Opening Day just 20 days away.

“The good part is there’s no soreness,” Halladay said. “Nothing hurts.”

He blamed his troubling performance on lethargy. He said a completely revamped, more intense workout program, plus throwing two bullpen sessions in between starts, contributed to his lackluster performance.

“I think I’ve always been a lot harder on myself than any of you guys have ever been. I can promise you that,” he said. “You also are aware of what’s going on and it’s hard to explain sometimes how you’re feeling, what you’re working on what you’re going through, what you’re trying to do. When you know in your head what’s going on, it’s a lot different. So the results aren’t satisfying – that’s obvious – but I think the work we’ve done there’s been a lot of progress made. Unfortunately we got to a point where we’ve done so much throwing that I really kind of just felt lethargic. … I’ll trade that any day of the week, feeling lethargic over being sore like last Spring Training.”

But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee expressed concern about Halladay. The Phillies entered camp last month counting on a healthier Halladay to bolster the rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.

“Yeah, it concerns me,” said Manuel, when asked about Halladay’s unusual lack of command. “But at the same time, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that if there’s nothing wrong with him, you keep working with him. If he’s healthy and well and there’s nothing wrong with him, then he’s got to get stretched out and everything. … He said he’s healthy. He said he feels good. Said there’s nothing wrong with him physically.”

“I would say there’s some concern, but I would say a lot of it has to do with having no tempo to his delivery,” said Dubee, when asked about Halladay’s velocity.

Halladay, who also got in trouble as he struggles with his cutter, said he thinks he will be fine once he begins to monitor his workload more closely and gets into his normal five-day routine in preparation for the season.

“Well, we have a plan and I’m still trying to build,” he said. “I think that the throwing is going to be a little less in between, but I’m going to try to continue to build for another week or so as much as I can in the weight room and things like that, I’m going to try to continue to get stronger so I get to a level where I feel I can maintain it throughout the season. To me, that’s what Spring Training is for. I’m trying to use this time as best as I can to prepare myself for the season. And it’s going to cost you sometimes. It cost me today. But that’s fine if I have the results I hope to have during the season because of the preparation we’ve put in, that it worked. So, that’s when we find out. Right now I’m not real concerned with the numbers and results as long as I feel like we’re progressing in the right direction.”

The Phillies are praying he is right.

But can Halladay return to the pitcher he was in 2010-11 or will they just hope he can make a slight improvement from last season?

“I don’t know where he is going to get back to,” Dubee said. “I don’t. Who does? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know that his work ethic is still there, his desire is still there, so I’ll take my chances.”

“I don’t know if he’ll ever get back to where he was three years ago, but he’ll be good enough to win a lot of games in the big leagues,” Manuel said. “I’ve seen pitchers come to Spring Training and have a hard time getting going. I’ve seen it over and over. If he finds it, I think he’ll definitely be better.”

He has less than three weeks to find it.

17 Comments

It is very apparent that Doc is hurt. He looks like he is trying to protect his arm as he is throwing. I hope i am wrong, but….

He looked like he was laboring…like an old war horse.

Are the Phillies suddenly in the mix for Kyle Lohse? Never could understand why the Phillies were so quick to kick Lohse to the curb back when they did. However, as much as it pains me, can’t lay the blame on Ruin here since it was before his time. Nor do we need to worry about Ruin going into a panic and trading half the farm system for a solution because there is not much of a farm system remaining after all of his ill advised trades to date. But, as they say, when there is a will there is a way.

They didn’t kick him to the curb, he turned down their offer. He later signed for less than what the Phils offered when he found out he wasn’t worth what he thought he was. He later proved he was, but he wasn’t at the time. The Phils had already moved on so their offer was no longer on the board.

Until everybody sees it on a game by game basis, please just relax. You’re all a bunch of chicken little’s saying the sky is falling at this point.

Zolecki is obliged to write something like this. He wouldn’t be a real journalist if he didn’t, but the fans just need to calm down until there is further proof. Dead arm is something that happens a lot during the point of spring training. Look it up, and stop freaking out. If it continues into April, then by all means, bitch all you want.

Too bad there is not a LIKE button here..great analysis

It’s kinda my thing. Haha

Thanks for telling us how to behave. It’s not just based on yesterday, it’s based on last year as well. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away either.

My point is that you don’t know if there even is an issue.

Do you call the fire dept every time you see some smoke? No, unless you’re one of those hero citizens that fly in from far away because you heard a baby cry, oh wait, that’s only in comic books.

But seriously, until you know there is a fire, don’t call the fire dept. the same can be said now. If you don’t know there is an issue, don’t make it an issue.

I have watched every single game that has been broadcasted on MLB.tv, and the first few starts he looked real good. I seriously do think he is going through a little dead arm.

If you have never pitched at a high level you really don’t know how much throwing your hardest takes out of your arm each time, and his arm is being broken down at this point, so that the week before the season he can rest and not throw 2 BP sessions in between his starts, then his arm will regenerate and actually be stronger. You gotta break it down to get it stronger.

You have probably been to the gym at least at some point in your life, right? Lets say you go 5 times a week for 3 weeks. And work out hard, then 4 th week you do an easy routine to let your body repair the muscle you have been breaking down for 3 weeks. You will get stronger after that 4th week due to the fact that you have rebuilded.

Why do you think boxers don’t take last minute fights? They have a certain training schedule to optimize their strength and stamina to be ready for that specific fight date.

Halladay is breaking himself down right now so that he can rest his final week or so and rebuild. Really read his comment slowly and see if you can’t extrapolate that, then get back to me.

LOL!! I guess he told you, muleman.
Looks like we have a new resident expert on preparation and fitness.

I’ve worked out a few times I guess you could say, being a former high school athlete, playing college football, and still playing baseball.

In retrospect I should have pursued baseball in college, but my ego made me want to be a wide receiver. Unfortunately for me, although I am fast for a 6’3″ white guy, I’m not that fast compared to the wide receivers/d-backs at the higher levels. Hindsight is always 20/20 I suppose.

But yes, working out during a season is tricky. You must work out in order to stay at the same level throughout the season, especially if we are talking about a MLB baseball season (they are kinda long). It is all about timing of when you do your hard workouts and when you do maintenance workouts. The goal is to be as strong as possible when you have to compete at a high level.

Right now Doc is breaking down as much as possible so he can be as strong as possible by Opening Day.

Not good news yet the only consolation (IMO) is that the Phils are fortunate enough to have two other outstanding starting pitchers (Lee and Hamels) on their roster. It seems that Halladay will have to try and reinvent himself with his lower velocity which is probably very difficult.

And if Kendrick picks up where he left off last year, make that three good starters.

It memory serves me correctly wasn’t one of the “What ails Doc” theories floating around last year something to do with the cumulative effect of his having been overworked for several years in a row? Now just three weeks from the start of the season, he wants to talking about lethargy? It sounds as if he puts himself through a rigorous training and preparation regimen. Maybe too rigorous.

Yes, having Kendrick have another good year would be a bonus. Not counting on Lannan for too many “W’s”. Hopefully he can come up with a less rigorous training routine that will help him gain some velocity and/or hitting his spots.

Don’t underestimate the value of Lannan. He has the potential to be the proverbial innings eater. Remember Javier Vazquez? He may or may not be retired but the point is he pitched for 14 years had a 165-160 record with a 4.22 ERA and averaged 6.2 innings per game and slightly more than 200 innings per season. And by the way made $99 million over the course of his career. Lannan has a losing record at 42-52 but his career ERA is 4.01 and over the course of a 162 game season has averaged 199 innings per season. He has averaged 5.82 innings per game with lousy Washington teams which should increase with the Phillies.

Good points Pherris, but if you take out Lannan’s career stats against the Phils, he is actually a very good pitcher. His ERA sinks to the mid-3s and he has a winning record. This spring he comes with a huge chip on his shoulder. He was a guy who gave his heart and soul to the Nats and they just took a huge dump on him and shoved his azz in the minor league. Well, now Johnny Boy has a chance to help the Phils beat the Nats for the NL East title. Don’t tell me that won’t keep a fire lit under his but all season!

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