Not that he is to blame or anything, but it is rather astounding that the Phillies have lost two games in their last ten, and both losses came in Roy Halladay starts. Also astounding are the pitch counts he’s racking up. 132 pitches last night. In his four starts before that he went 126, 121, 119, 118.
I realize he’s a horse and everything, and I realize that the Phillies’ bullpen could use all the rest it can get, but it strikes me that the Phillies are almost certainly going to be playing more than 162 games this season and that in light of this, Charlie Manuel would do what he can to make sure that Roy Halladay is as fresh as he can be come October.
You have a nice division lead right now, Charlie. There’s no shame in taking Halladay out after, say, seven innings on a cold and rainy Tuesday night in mid May. Yeah, Halladay might not want you too, but you’re the boss and you should give your ace some rest whether he wants it or not.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.