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.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: