Roy Halladay fails to make it four innings in first start

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Roy Halladay struck out nine Atlanta batters Wednesday in his first start of the regular season. But everything else about the outing was hideous.

Halladay threw only 55 of his 95 pitches for strikes, yielding five earned runs on six hits and three walks before getting pulled with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning. His fastball touched 91-92 mph on occasion — which was a positive sign — but it didn’t have the kind of movement or bite that it usually does and he relied primarily on his breaking stuff.

Halladay posted an ugly 6.06 ERA, 1.84 WHIP and 16/9 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings this spring while struggling to build his fastball velocity. The 35-year-old is owed $20 million this season and carries a $20 million vesting option for 2014.

The Braves (now 2-0) defeated the Phillies (now 0-2) by a score of 9-2.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.