If Only Halladay Was Halladay This Season…

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, September 25, 2012 07:00 AM | Comments: 11
Analysis, Opinion, Posts

Roy Halladay has a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts since returning from the DL.

No Chase Utley for 76 games. No Ryan Howard for 84 games. Worst eighth-inning ERA in baseball for most of the season. Costly, poor defense from Placido Polanco’s replacements at third base.

It’s crazy to say, but through all of it, the Phillies would still be right in the wild-card race if they got just a bit more out of Roy Halladay.

Halladay has made 24 starts this season. The Phillies have absolutely no reason to send him out on the mound again, so he’ll hopefully finish the 2012 season with those 24 starts. Only 15 were quality starts.

The dominance just wasn’t there. In 2010, Halladay had 15 starts in which he gave up one or no runs. Last year, he had 13. This year? Try five.

There were seven games this season where Doc allowed four or more runs. If you reduce that to, say, four games, the Phillies are probably three wins better, and a mere game or two behind the second wild-card spot.

I’m not a big fan of “if this happened, then this would have happened” line of thinking that leads to statements like “if Halladay didn’t give up that first-inning homer the Phillies would have won, 2-1!” That standpoint takes for granted that Halladay would have been throwing different pitches in different situations if the first-inning homer never occurred.

So, yeah, maybe if Halladay pitched better the Phillies wouldn’t have been far enough out of the playoff race to sell at the deadline. Maybe they wouldn’t have played pressure-free baseball and thrived doing it.

But looking at the standings and his numbers as of Sept. 24, it really sinks in just how much Halladay’s mediocrity affected the Phillies this season. It was said the past two years that the one player the Phils couldn’t afford to lose was Doc.

This season, they didn’t just lose him for seven weeks with a lat strain. They lost him for five months after a brilliant April, when he transformed from the Ace of Aces to just another pitcher with a solid strikeout rate and a 4.00-plus ERA.

It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. It’s hard to believe that Halladay won’t always be what he was in 2010 and 2011. But the problems he’s dealing with – a tired shoulder, changes in his rotator cuff, less life on his cutter and sinker, less speed on his fastball – are legitimate issues that pop up at this point in a pitcher’s career.

It happened to Greg Maddux, a no-doubt Hall of Famer who had a 4.13 ERA over his last six seasons. It can happen to anybody.

The Phillies are hoping that this was just a blip on Halladay’s otherwise clean radar screen. That he comes back next year and doesn’t miss in the middle of the plate and allow so many early home runs. That he stops trying to nibble and maintains the brilliant walk rates of seasons past.

If not … well, it’s easy to imagine a team so heavily reliant on pitching playing the “What if?” game again next fall.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 87 Johanna

    Avatar of Johanna

    Charlie over-used him in 2010 and 2011. We are seeing the results of that this year. It’s really unfortunate.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I don’t think so. Age has the most to do with Halladay’s poor season. Manuel certainly didn’t overuse him in the numerous seasons he pitched before 2010; some other managers did. Check the stats. Halladay has been among the complete game leader almost every year he’s pitched, and actually had more of them per year in some of his seasons with Toronto.

      If you want to find a manager who really has worked pitchers to death, try Dusty Baker.

  • Posts: 105 pamikedc

    Avatar of pamikedc

    What IFs all day. It wasn’t.

    I like our 2013!!

    Any chance we sign Pierre or does another team see how valuable he is and offer him more?

    • Posts: 0 John

      Hey now, Sarah . I stopped paniyg attention to baseball when my Red Sox were eliminated, but got sucked back in when I realized I could root for whomever the Yankees are playing.

  • Posts: 105 pamikedc

    Avatar of pamikedc

    Opening Day 2013:

    P- Cole, I mean- I guess, Doc Halladay
    C- Ruiz, back up Kratz

    1b- Howard
    2b- Chase
    SS- Jimmy
    3b- Frandsen
    LF- DBrown, backup JMJ (if not Pierre).
    CF- sign someone
    RF- can JMJ play the first half :)
    If not then sign someone, back up Nix

    5 SPs: Doc, Lee, Hollywood, KK, Worley.
    Long relief- Cloyd
    Need to sign a middle reliever. And use all the young arms for the BP, w the “addition” of Stutes.

    Who do you think we can sign for the OF?? I keep hearing Bourne? But my guess is that he will not sign for ONE season. What are Pierre’s numbers vs Bourne, just curious….

  • Posts: 105 pamikedc

    Avatar of pamikedc

    Oh yeah, I forgot about the 50 day Galvis…hmm, he’s a cheater, so, backup

  • Posts: 0 George

    Corey, if you’re not a fan of “If this happened…” then why even play this “what if” game? As far as this season is concerned, the “what-ifs” started piling up early and fast, and some of the best playing has come after Halladay came off the DL and pitched badly. This Halladay scenario also doesn’t make sense for April, when Halladay WAS pitching well, but the team totally tanked. This year is pretty much dead, and will soon be buried. Halladay’s performance played only one part in the death, and probably not the main one.

    If Halladay has a tired shoulder, it may just be that his lat hasn’t fully healed. It would also seem pretty obvious that with a gimpy muscle, the life and velocity of his pitches would suffer. To address his rotator cuff, there’s probably not a man alive whose cuff will be the same after throwing a baseball repeatedly. Even position players have burned out their shoulders. (Example: Mike Schmidt.) It may be a worry; it may just be normal wear and tear and can be coped with. At any rate, it’s now a worry for the postseason and the spring.

  • Posts: 4876 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I didn’t think Halladay had a brilliant April. He won some games sure, he was 3-0 at one point. But I said it then and now, fangraphs clearly showed what we thought our eyes were telling us. There was little life on his best stuff, and his velocity was down across the board on the graphs.

    I posted this Halladay quote from Spring Training last week, but it’s worth a second look, or for those that don’t remember-

    “Yeah, I’m 34 and 2,500 innings, it does take a while to get going,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to that. The older you get, the more you throw, the longer it takes you to get yourself going. When I came up, I threw 98. Last year, I was throwing 92-93. It’s not unusual. When you get older, it takes you longer. The more innings you throw, the more it takes to get yourself going again.”

    We can only hope he is able to get completely healthy and get himself going again, and I remain optimistic just because he’s Doc. But if not, it was quite a ride, just a brilliant two year ride.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    The anti Mike Rizzo speaketh…

    “Because he’d like to pitch,” pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “When you have a guy like him, he deserves that. If he wants to pitch and he feels he can pitch, then why not? Especially if you feel confident from the doctors’ reports there is nothing structurally wrong. It’s a completely different area.”

    Manuel echoed Dubee’s thoughts.

    “How he feels, how he throws will probably dictate what we do,” he said. “Of course he wants to continue on if he can. He thinks he can, I think, from what I hear from the trainer.”


    My question is what is to be gained by it? Soory, because he likes to pitch might translate to Doc’s satisfaction as what’s gained, but I’ll pass on buying that.

    • Posts: 4876 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I can think of one really good reason to let him pitch, but I just don’t want to believe it’s true.

      “For the love of the game”

      Nah, it can’t be, can it?

      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        nah, it’s always about the money, because they always say it isn’t.

        No offense to reference Doc to that time honored notion, since he seems less about the money than many.

Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:

Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.