Results tagged ‘ Roy Halladay ’
Roy Halladay makes his 2013 debut tonight after a bad spring. I wrote yesterday that Monday’s loss to the Braves wouldn’t have caused such consternation in Philadelphia had this been 2010-11, when Halladay was at the top of his game. But following a poor 2012, everybody is anxious to see what he has left in his right arm.
But it is tough to be optimistic about Halladay, despite proclamations from Halladay, Rich Dubee, Ruben Amaro Jr. and others that everything is fine. (Privately, the Phillies are just as anxious as everybody else.)
Their message: Remain calm, all is well!
But is it? His velocity is down, although it ticked upward in his last couple spring starts. (That means hitting 90 mph once two starts ago, and 91 mph once in his last start.) His location hasn’t been there. He has been hit hard. He has had trouble throwing his cutter. He has labored. And he has offered numerous plausible explanations for those struggles: dead arm, lethargy after throwing an extra bullpen session in between starts, stomach virus, mushy mound, improperly rubbed baseballs, trouble finding a good grip for the cutter, throwing too much hard stuff to Minor League hitters, etc. Is he suddenly going to put everything together against a Braves lineup that showed what it can do against a pitcher that can’t locate, like Cole Hamels couldn’t on Monday? If Halladay is throwing 87-89 and he can’t locate it could be a very quick night for him. If he looks good, then everybody will exhale a little bit … at least until his next start. He’s going to have to string together a few good ones before I think everybody truly relaxes.
Note: Before anybody says, “There goes the media again, blowing things out of proportion.” Just remember, pretty much every scout in baseball — scouts the Phillies and every team employ to make multimillion dollar decisions on players — have expressed the same concerns about Halladay.
I could see something like 5 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts and 1 home run from him tonight. It is hard to say he will do better, considering he allowed 21 hits, 11 runs, nine walks, three home runs and struck out 16 in 16 1/3 innings in six Grapefruit League starts. And that doesn’t include the start he made against Triple-A hitters from Toronto, when he allowed 11 of 18 batters to reach base.
The Phillies returned home last night, and most things in camp went well except for Roy Halladay. I don’t include Darin Ruf here because I think people in the organization hoped Ruf would fare well in the outfield, although they did not necessarily expect it. And starting him in Triple-A isn’t the worst thing in the world, nor is it a crushing blow to the team’s chances. But Halladay’s importance is obvious, and the fact he had so many issues and struggles leaves one enormous question mark on the mound.
I said a couple weeks ago I thought the Phillies would jump at the opportunity if somebody told them Halladay would finish 14-10 with a 3.80 ERA in 30-32 starts this season.
I believe that even more today.
I’ve never seen a premiere pitcher struggle like this in the spring. I mean, I’ve certainly seen great pitchers struggle in spring training before, but it never looked like this. He labored, he struggled to command his pitches, he lacked velocity, he didn’t have a feel for his cutter, which has been a money pitch for him. But if you’re an optimist, then you believe each of Halladay’s explanations for his struggles following his last five starts. He mentioned “dead arm” March 6, when his velocity dipped for the first time. He said he felt lethargic March 12, when the Tigers battered him in 2 2/3 innings. An extra bullpen session in between starts, plus the rigors of a more intense workout program, sapped his energy, he said. He promised he would pull back before his next start and there would be improvements. But he suffered from a stomach virus March 17, and lasted just one inning against the Orioles. Then last Saturday in a minor league game against Toronto’s Triple-A hitters, Halladay allowed 11 of 18 base runners to reach base. He blamed a “mushy mound” for his lack of velocity and said throwing more hard stuff against minor league hitters hurt him. Then yesterday he allowed two runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays with Toronto picking up three of those outs on the bases. He said he found it difficult to grip the baseball because the balls were not rubbed up with mud properly before the game. The Phillies also said he is still trying to recover his strength following his sickness.
Again, each of these explanations are completely plausible, but coming off last season’s struggles it would unwise to take them at face value.
If the over/under on Halladay’s ERA this season is 4.19 (average ERA for starters last year) I’d have to take the over.
Conversely, Domonic Brown has been Halladay’s polar opposite. He has looked incredible this spring. I wrote earlier how Brown’ spring training numbers could indicate a successful 2013. John Dewan said players that show a 200-point increase in their spring training slugging percentage from their career slugging percentage have performed significantly above their career marks in the upcoming season 60 percent of the time. Brown finished the spring with a .675 slugging percentage compared to a .388 career slugging percentage. That is a .287 difference, which puts him in that group. Like I wrote in my story, eight of the 12 Phillies previously on Dewan’s list ended up surpassing their career slugging percentages during the regular season. Of the four players that fell short, two were not everyday players (Eric Bruntlett in 2009 and Pete Orr in ’11) and one got injured midway through the season (Jim Thome in ’05). Maybe Brown will make Dewan 9 for 13.
If the over/under on Brown’s slugging percentage is .428 (average slugging percentage for outfielders last season), I’m taking the over.
Ryan Howard also had a great spring, compiling a .663 slugging percentage, but his career slugging percentage is .551 so he fell .088 short of Dewan’s mark. But Howard’s slugging percentage the previous two seasons is just .468, so maybe he is in line for a bounce back season, too.
Opening Day is three days away.
Predictions for Halladay, Brown and Howard?
He pitches against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. In seasons past, his final Grapefruit League start would be nondescript and uneventful. He would fine tune a few things and taper down before he pitched Opening Day. But tomorrow’s start is much different. It carries significance. Halladay has had issues in each of his previous four starts, and despite the Phillies keeping a stiff upper lip publicly that everything is well, privately they would like to see him pitch effectively just like everybody else.
Should you be concerned about Halladay? Yes, you should.
Halladay did not pitch well last year. He was injured. He labored at times. He simply didn’t resemble the pitcher that dominated the National League in 2010-11. But he said he came into camp feeling great. He said a new training program had him on the way back. But after he looked fine in his first two Grapefruit League starts there have been issues. His velocity dropped from 89-91 in those first two starts to 86-88 in his third start. He mentioned “dead arm,” which is not uncommon for pitchers. In his fourth start, he got shellacked in 2 2/3 innings. Some guns had him 85-87. He said he felt lethargic because he threw an extra bullpen session in between starts and because the more intense workout program had caught up to him. He had a stomach virus in his fourth start, which caused him to last just one inning and drop eight to 10 pounds. And then in his fifth start Saturday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex, where 11 of 18 Triple-A hitters reached base, he said he threw more hard stuff than he normally would. He also said he was tweaking his cutter grip, which is an important pitch for him, and could not crank up his fastball because of a wet mound.
(His velocity bumped up to 88-90, although he hit just 90 once.)
Each of Halladay’s explanations over those four starts are completely plausible. But they also are concerning because they are coming from a potential Hall of Famer that turns 36 in May and has thrown 2,687 1/3 inning in his big-league career. Should a healthy Halladay be having so many issues? Can we take anybody at their word after everybody said everything was fine last year, when he was having back problems in camp?
Everybody will breathe a little easier if Halladay looks good tomorrow. But if he doesn’t, if the Blue Jays batter balls around the field, there will some serious concern entering Wednesday’s start in Atlanta against the Braves.
Roy Halladay’s start yesterday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex drew plenty of attention.
He has had a rough month, struggling in starts because of dead arm, lethargy and illness, respectively. Then 11 of the 18 batters he faced yesterday reached base. He got just three swings and misses, with Triple-A hitters from the Toronto Blue Jays hitting numerous balls hard. His fastball consistently hit 87-89 mph on the radar gun, hitting 90 mph once in the first inning. He officially allowed three runs, although he had the bases loaded with two outs when the first inning got cut short after he reached his pitch limit.
Halladay insisted he felt fine and will be ready to go April 3 in Atlanta.
“He was OK,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
“After what he’s gone through, he was fine,” Rich Dubee said. “I’m not looking for results right now. The good part was he threw 80 pitches, he felt strong and felt like he could have thrown more. The arm slot was fine. He’s a ways from repeating it. Do you see anybody at their level yet? He’s not where he’s going to be yet. But I thought the velocity for not having pitched was good. He sat 88 to 90 consistently and finished the game at 89 almost 80 pitches into it. So arm-strength wise, that was good and he feels like there is more there. I think the more we get it right, the more it will come out.”
It didn’t look like it, but he said he will be ready to pitch and pitch effectively April 3 in Atlanta.
He threw 82 pitches, consistently hitting 87-89 mph on the radar gun. He hit 90 mph once in the first inning. If you were looking for positive results, they weren’t there. Halladay retired just seven of the 18 batters he faced. He allowed seven hits and two walks. He hit a batter while another batter reached base on a sacrifice bunt and error. He got just three swings and misses as he had trouble putting away hitters with two strikes. He officially allowed just three runs, although he had his first inning cut short after throwing 27 pitches, leaving the bases loaded with two outs in the process.
Here is some of what Halladay said afterward:
You felt fatigued two starts ago. You were sick in your last start. How did you feel physically?
I felt good. I was trying to talk him into letting me throw a few more. Arm-wise I felt really good. I think more than anything it took a toll on consistency, really in my lower half. My arm slot felt good. I felt like my landing spot was varying a little bit from time to time, but other than that I felt good. I felt like my arm was consistently in the same spot. We tried to throw a lot of sinkers and a lot of cutters today, we threw some better cutters. We tried a couple of different things with the cutters and I felt like toward the end we really narrowed down what I want to do with it. But I felt strong. I was surprised. I thought I was going to be a little wobbly leg-wise and stuff. But I felt good. I felt like I could have easily threw a 100-plus pitches. So form that standpoint, I’m pretty happy. Arm felt great, no soreness, I don’t think I’m going to feel sore tomorrow. And I felt like my stamina was there. Just working on the consistency on my lower half in the next bullpen and go from there. But I was glad that, you know, it didn’t set me back like I thought it was going to as far as physically. I felt strong and felt like the stamina was there.
Halladay lasted just one inning Sunday in a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at Bright House Field because of a stomach virus. He lost eight to 10 pounds in a couple days, but after throwing a successful bullpen session yesterday, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said today he is confident Halladay will be ready to go in 13 days.
Halladay is pitching in a Minor League Spring Training game Saturday at Carpenter Complex and March 28 in a Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field.
“Sure,” Dubee said, when asked if two starts are enough for Halladay. “What’s the risk? He threw 25 pitches last time out. Our other guys, their last game they’re only going to throw 50 probably. So that was his short haul.”
And why pitch Halladay in a Minor League game rather than face the Orioles in a game in Sarasota?
“He’s missed some time, but more important than that is I didn’t want to put him back on a bus,” Dubee said. “It’s contained germs. Contained germs. That’s what on a bus. It’s like flying. Why do people get sick on flights? Because there are germs on there. I don’t want to put him in a confined area.”
Dubee said he liked what he saw in Halladay’s bullpen session yesterday. He has said Halladay’s problems this spring are mechanical, and not health related.
There have many storylines in camp, but as Spring Training in Florida comes to a close everybody seems to be talking about five things.
Let’s take a look at those five topics here:
Roy Halladay. There is reason to be concerned about Halladay. He looked fine in his first two Grapefruit League starts, throwing his fastball in the 89-91 mph range. But his velocity has dropped since then as he has had issues in each of his previous three starts. In his third Grapefruit League start his velocity fell into the 86-88 mph range as he talked about experiencing “dead arm.” He got shelled in 2 2/3 innings in his fourth start March 12, saying he felt lethargic. Then he lasted just one inning in his fifth start Sunday because of a stomach virus. Everybody is asking if Halladay is healthy. It is a fair and legitimate question to ask because Halladay and others in the organization said he was fine last March when he was experiencing lower back problems. But while the health question is justifiable, one also might ask this: Is Halladay simply running out of bullets? He turns 36 on May 14. He has pitched 2,351 1/3 innings from 2002-12, which ranks third in baseball. He has thrown 34,423 pitches in the regular season and postseason in that span, not including Spring Training games, bullpen sessions and warm ups. Maybe time is catching up to him, although he said in February he does not think he is there yet. It is a grim reality if it is true. Meanwhile, the Phillies are putting a positive spin on things, saying Halladay’s problems simply stem from a few mechanical issues and some problems with his cutter. They say all is well. They certainly hope they are right because it would be a blow to their chances if it is not. Halladay threw a bullpen session Wednesday and Rich Dubee said through a team spokesman, “Roy threw very well. He almost lost 10 pounds, so he’s just got to gain some weight back and get his strength.” Halladay is scheduled to make two more starts this spring before the regular season, including Saturday in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex. It is strange to be writing this, but while in the past nobody would think twice about a couple poor Spring Training starts from Halladay, some positive results here would put some minds at ease. And not just the minds of fans. Phillies officials are putting up a brave face, but they would like to see some, too.
Roy Halladay threw a bullpen session today in Clearwater.
It seemed to go OK.
“Roy threw very well,” Rich Dubee said through a team spokesman. “He lost almost 10 pounds, so he’s just got to gain some weight back and get his strength.”
Halladay lasted just one inning Sunday in a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at Bright House Field because of a stomach virus. He said Tuesday he lost 10 pounds because of the illness, and still felt a little weak and jittery. He is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League spring training game Saturday at Carpenter Complex. He would get one more start before he is scheduled to pitch April 3 against the Braves in Atlanta.
Halladay has had a rough month. He looked fine in his first two Grapefruit League starts, throwing his fastball in the 89-91 mph range. But his velocity has dropped since then. In his third Grapefruit League start his velocity fell into the 86-88 mph range as he talked about experiencing “dead arm.” He got shelled in 2 2/3 innings in his fourth start March 12, saying he felt lethargic. Then he lasted just one inning in his fifth start Sunday because of the stomach virus.
The Phillies have said repeatedly that Halladay has no physical issues. They said some of his struggles stem from mechanical issues, which they have been working on.
He lasted just one inning in Sunday’s Grapefruit League start against the Orioles at Bright House Field because of a stomach virus. That followed serious struggles in 2 2/3 innings March 12, which he attributed to lethargy because of a more rigorous workout program and throwing two bullpen sessions in between starts.
It has been an interesting spring for Halladay, who has been trying to prove he can bounce back from a disappointing 2012.
“I feel like I’m going in the right direction,” he said before today’s game against the Yankees. “Just bad timing for a setback.”
Halladay, whose velocity has been in the 85-88 range in his last three starts, said he hopes to throw a bullpen session tomorrow and pitch Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota. He said he thinks he can get enough work in his final two Spring Training starts to be ready for the season. He is scheduled to pitch the second game of the season April 3 in Atlanta.
“From today on, if I continue to get stronger and stronger each day I’ll be fine,” he said. “If I can go out and throw 75 pitches my next start … I think 75 is realistic. The time after that if I get to 90 or maybe a couple over 90 then it’s easy to go 105 to 110 or whatever. I haven’t been on any teams where the first start of the season they let you go over 100 pitches. If I can get to 90 by the end of spring, I feel like I can throw 100-105.”
Halladay has maintained he is otherwise healthy, but has been having problems mostly with his mechanics.
He said he could not tell if he improved in that area Sunday, although others told him they saw improvement.
“My bullpens have felt really good, and I felt good when I first started throwing in the bullpen,” he said. “Throwing today felt good. The arm slot and the stuff we are working on I think is there.”
Halladay said if he is not strong enough to throw a bullpen Wednesday, the possibility exists he could be pushed back a day or two at the beginning of the season. In one scenario, right-hander Kyle Kendrick could start the second game of the season and Halladay could start the home opener against the Royals at Citizens Bank Park on April 6.
“I’m sure there are a lot of options, but I think all of it is going to depend on day-to-day,” Halladay said. “If I come in tomorrow and feel weak and don’t feel like I can throw a bullpen, that’s going to change things. But I think day-to-day is what’s most important. The plan for me would be to do what we said, throw a bullpen, pitch, then pitch one more time before the end of spring and go into the season. But if it doesn’t go exactly that way, I’m sure there are other ways to look at it.
“I feel like it’s there. I feel like I’ve made the strides that I need to make but just really haven’t got to test it. That was really kind of the most disappointing thing about it. I told Ruben (Amaro Jr.) that night, as sick as I felt on the mound, I almost feel worse because I didn’t get to see the results that I wanted to see. I guess you just have to be patient and let it do its thing. There are things that you can control, and you worry about that. I’m going to continue to worry about what I can control and do as much as I can to be as effective and as good as I can be on Opening Day.”
He lasted just one inning yesterday in a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at Bright House Field. That followed 2 2/3 innings Tuesday, when he struggled terribly and said he felt lethargic because of a more intense workout program and because he threw two bullpen sessions in between starts.
Everybody maintains Halladay is healthy, other than the illness that got the best of him.
“We’ve just got to get him healthy so we can get him back on the mound,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today at Champion Stadium, referring to Halladay’s sickness.
Understandably, there are many skeptics out there. Halladay struggled in 2012, fighting back and shoulder problems. He pronounced himself fit during a press conference in February. He looked pretty good in his first two Grapefruit League starts before seeing a drop in velocity in his third. His fourth start Tuesday raised red flags.
“Obviously we want to get him on the mound and get him his reps, but we can’t do anything about him being sick,” Amaro said.
Asked again if Halladay is healthy, Amaro said, “Yeah. There is no indication that he’s suffering from any discomfort or anything like that. That’s good.”
Asked if he is confident Halladay can make 30-33 starts this season, he said, “I am. Listen, we’ll find out as he continues to pitch, but Doc’s confident and we’re confident in him. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. Right now we’re more concerned about him getting healthy so he can get back on the mound.”