Roy Halladay had a rough afternoon against the Red Sox yesterday, giving up a season-high seven runs in a season-low 5.2 innings. It was just the second time in the past 96 starts that he’s allowed seven or more runs, so naturally Todd Zolecki of MLB.com wondered if Halladay’s high workloads had anything to do with the poor outing.
Charlie Manuel replied “not a damn thing” when asked, and Halladay himself was equally as adamant against the workload being to blame:
From the horse’s mouth, it didn’t affect me. It was just a matter of not making good pitches. That’s the bottom line. You prepare yourself obviously all winter and all season to be able to handle the workload. That’s your job as a starting pitcher. I feel like I’ve done that and I feel good going out there.
Which is exactly what you’d expect Halladay to say, because he’s long been perhaps the most durable pitcher in baseball. However, “not making good pitches” is certainly more likely when you’re at something less than full strength, and as Zolecki notes Halladay was coming off a 132-pitch outing that was the second-highest of his career and a four-start stretch of 118, 119, 121, and 132 pitches that was the highest of his career.
I’m not suggesting anyone is to blame here, because even the best pitchers simply have bad games now and then. With that said, rarely has Halladay had this bad a game and even baseball’s premier workhorse can be overworked. That he’s throwing more pitches than ever before in his first two months with the Phillies seems like it could be an example of his new team taking his workhorse reputation a bit too far too soon.
And while both Manuel and Halladay deny it was a factor yesterday, Zolecki reports that Halladay did in fact adjust his pre-start routine by throwing on flat ground rather than the typical bullpen session in an effort to preemptively combat the increased workload. Pitching coach Rich Dubee also said the Phillies plan to give Halladay an extra day between starts whenever the schedule allows, so perhaps everyone involved recognizes the potential issue even if they’re telling reporters otherwise.