From the Ballpark: Halladay Hurt, Phillies Lose 14-2 to Marlins
PHILADELPHIA—It’s getting hard to watch.
Roy Halladay, once the toast of big league pitching talent, is teetering on being fit for the rotation.
And that assumes he’ll be healthy enough to take the field again.
The 35-year-old right-hander was blasted for nine runs in only 2 1/3 innings in the Phillies 14-2 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. GM Ruben Amaro said after the game that Halladay would likely be placed on the DL with what Halladay called right shoulder “discomfort.”
“He’s experiencing some shoulder difficulty, some shoulder pain. We’re likely going to have to put him on the DL,” said Amaro, who only appears after games when something’s gone awry.
Halladay and Amaro said they think this is something new, and isn’t related to the throwing shoulder and lower back problems that caused his quirky 2012 and landed him on the shelf for seven weeks.
Halladay said when he woke up the morning after his Apr. 24 start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the last in a string of three in which he’d had worked a 1.71 ERA, he felt a bit of a pain.
Halladay brushed it off. Normal post-start soreness, he figured.
“It’s kind of progressed over the last two weeks or so,” he said.
Now? Difficulty and pain are words best fit for describing this situation.
“I have a hard time watching him struggle,” Charlie Manuel said. “Every time we send him out there, we want him to win the game. You do too. You expect him to pitch good. He’s got lit up pretty bad.”
When Manuel spoke, he hadn’t yet been informed of Halladay’s condition.
Though what it had done to Halladay’s ability was plain to see.
Halladay allowed 10 baserunners and logged only seven outs.
Three times in three innings did the Marlins load the bases on him on Sunday. One resulted in an Adienny Hechavarria grand slam. Another, off the bat of Marcell Ozuna in the first, crashed off the padding atop the left field wall. Another, a Hechivarria bases-clearing triple also in the first.
Halladay issued four free passes.
He hit two batters. He threw behind another.
All three were cutters, the pitch that once made him what he was.
Only twice last year did Doc walk three in a single start, and had only three times in four years prior.
As for his hit batters – or batter, Justin Ruggiano, who took one between the shoulders twice on Sunday – Halladay’s plunked four batsman this year, after clipping only five in all of 2012.
And that says nothing of the scene in the clubhouse after the game.
Halladay spoke, but wouldn’t field questions. His face was red. His lower lip quivered.
“As far as going forward, I really don’t have much for you,” he said. “We’ll see how this plays out.”
This, from the man once tabbed a machine.
The rest of the Phillies didn't provide much of a diversion. Marlin starter Kevin Slowey tossed seven scoreless innings. The lineup managed only four hits overall. Half their runs followed a Miami error. The other came on a Freddy Galvis ground-out to score Ben Revere, who’d reached third on the throw by Marlin reliever A.J. Ramos that bounced left of the visiting dugout to let Carlos Ruiz score.
That the lineup has plated three or fewer in 17 of 31 games turns the stomach.
But what tugged at your heart on Sunday was Halladay.
Last year was tough to stomach, but easy to rationalize. Halladay had grown old, you figured, and simply worn over time. It was natural – inevitable – that an 11-8 mark and 4.49 ERA would follow.
But this year, Halladay was proclaimed healthy. And after a shaky spring and first two starts, he showcased three starts that made it worth wondering whether another decree was worth writing.
Even if Halladay was back, even if he had evolved, his status is now back to being uncertain.
Five days ago, the Cleveland Indians unloaded eight runs in 3 2/3 on him, making for the second set of back-to-back starts eight runs or more for him ever and first since May 2007.
That week six years back, Halladay had an appendectomy.
This time, who knows what’s next.
Know this: it could be the last time you ever see Halladay pitch again professionally.
As for doing it as he had for the finest moments of a Hall of Fame run: that may be gone for good.