After tossing eight innings of one-run ball against the weak-hitting Marlins last Sunday for his 200th career victory, Roy Halladay had his second straight strong start last night in a tougher test against the Cardinals.
Halladay allowed two runs over seven innings as part of an 8-2 victory. The game was called in the seventh inning following a 35-minute rain delay, so Halladay was credited with his 67th career complete game.
Halladay gave up just two hits on the night, in the form of solo homers from Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday. The veteran right-hander walked two and struck out six while throwing 59 out of 109 pitches for strikes. According to Brooks Baseball, he averaged right around 91 mph on his fastball and topped out at 92.95 mph. He was still hitting 92 mph in his final inning of work. Halladay also generated 11 swings-and-misses, though the majority of them were with his curveball.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Halladay said after the game that he feels like he is finally getting comfortable with the changes he made to his delivery during the offseason.
“Tonight was about as good as I’ve felt,” he said. “I still need to be more consistent, but I feel good where I’m at. I feel like it’s coming together the way it should. I’ll continue to work at it until I get more consistent.”
Halladay struggled during spring training and gave up 12 runs in 7 1/3 innings over his first two regular season starts, but he has allowed just three runs in 15 innings over his last two outings, improving his ERA from 14.73 to 6.04 in the process. We may never see a return to his ace-like form, but if anyone can figure out how to be successful with diminished stuff, it’s probably Halladay.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.