One can only hope that Roy Halladay has a different gear for the regular season than he’s had this spring, because it hasn’t been all that encouraging. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the wrapup from his final outing:
The righthander pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits and two runs before leaving the game at his prescribed limit of 96 pitches.
Halladay has struggled much of the spring with ineffectiveness and diminished velocity. On the plus side, his velocity was better Thursday. His fastball sat between 88 and 90 mph, according to one scout, and he touched 91 mph. The pitcher’s command, however, was an issue. He was consistently up in the strike zone and at one point threw 10 balls in an 11-pitch stretch.
He walked two and struck out six. For the spring, Doc posted a 6.06 ERA in 16 and a third innings while allowing 21 hits while walking nine and striking out 16.
Silver lining: many have said that Halladay spent much of the spring trying to build up arm strength, so maybe being fine was not his primary goal. The scary part: a lot of people say that about spring training.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: