Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Roy Halladay Isn't Good Anymore

Dad Gum It
Tonight's effort: 4 innings, 6 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 Ks, 1 WP, 1 HB.

Against a team (those bargain basement Mets) whose two biggest paid outfielders are (a) Jason Bay, currently warming the pine in Seattle, and (b) Bobby Bonilla, currently terrorizing your local all you can eat restaurant, having last swung a bat in fatness in 2001. (No, seriously.) Basically, the Mets are David Wright, Ike Davis, and six guys who any reasonable MLB pitcher, working at home, should be very enthused about.

In a nationally televised game on ESPN, in front of a big crowd, for a 2-4 team that is acutely aware that they could be dead by May if April isn't OK... and so far, April has not been OK.

Realistically, the Phillies don't absolutely need Roy Halladay to be Roy Halladay any more; they have Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, after all, which could mean that they only need him to be a very good #3 SP, rather than a defining ace. But the more realistic point is that the three aces are where the money is, and if Halladay doesn't give them an exceptional advantage over what the other side runs out there, this team isn't going anywhere. Especially with guys like Jordan Zimmerman and Tim Hudson taking the ball for the division rivals, being just a guy isn't enough.

This just in: Halladay isn't even just a guy right now. After two starts, his ERA is 14.73, and his WHIP is 2.25. He can't locate his pitches in the zone, he can't dial up real velocity, and while he's clearly missing his usual catcher (Carlos Ruiz, about a month away from clearing out his substance abuse suspension), there's nothing to pass those numbers or this eye test.

I'm not a doctor, but he looks physically OK to me. He just also looks like a mess structurally, and like a guy who needs to take a year off or somehow dial back the odometer at least 500 innings. Last year, he threw out a 4.49 ERA and 1.22 WHIP; right now, the Phillies have to be wondering if they are even going to get that. And there's no getting past the eye test: if his pitches had came from a guy that the Phillies aren't invested in, or from someone without 199 career wins of credit built up, there's be no reason to keep him in the rotation. If his velocity, control and presence had a Kyle Kendrick name on the back of the jersey, Philly Fan would be more than justified in letting loose the boos.

I caught most of the ex-ace's innings tonight on the treadmill tonight, and they reminded me a lot of what he did last year – which is to say, a guy who no longer has the stuff or the control that he needs to, well, be anything less than fungible. He tries to throw heat without heat, paint corners when he doesn't have control, and scowls at the umpire like he was still someone who deserved marginal calls.

Because he's Roy Halladay, he's going to get 2-3 months to figure it out; by then, the Phillies might be out of the race. Assuming, of course, that they don't just invent an injury to get him rehab starts with honor in the minors.

On the other side of the game tonight, the Mets started Matt Harvey, the reasonable Rookie of the Year candidate. He went 7, struck out 9, gave up 3 hits and 2 walks with one earned run, and his 95 on the gun over and over.

Again, it's not even mid-April yet; panic is unseemly. But this was also the third straight non-sellout at Citizens Bank, and another brick in the wall that says this year is going to be No Fun for Philly Fan. And maybe more than a little for Mets Fan...

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