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Roy Halladay’s struggles continue in loss to Mets

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Roy Halladay was chased from his season debut last Wednesday against the Braves after he gave up five runs over 3 1/3 innings. And things didn’t get any better tonight against the Mets, as he was charged with seven runs in four innings as part of a 7-2 loss.

While Halladay mixed in a pair of 1-2-3 innings, he worked in deep counts for most of the night and struggled to put batters away with his diminished stuff. The 35-year-old right-hander threw just 59 of his 99 pitches for strikes while yielding six hits and three walks. He also hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch.

Halladay put himself in an early hole by giving up a three-run homer to John Buck in the second inning and was ultimately pulled from the ballgame after he gave up three straight hits to begin the fifth inning. Chad Durbin then allowed two inherited runners to score, closing the book on another ugly night for Halladay.

As Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com notes, this is the first time in Halladay’s career that he has had back-to-back outings of four innings or fewer while allowing at least five runs. His ERA sits at 14.73 (12 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings) through two starts.

While Halladay looks like a shell of his former self at the moment, Matt Harvey continues to emerge as one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game. After fanning 10 batters over seven shutout innings in his season debut against the Padres last Wednesday, he struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball tonight.

Dodgers sign Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.

Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.

Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.

UPDATE: Giants agree to a deal with Mark Melancon

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals reacts after the final out as the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 in game three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.

12:15 PMKen Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.

Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.

The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.

What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.

Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.