The Phillies were quietly going about their business until Tuesday afternoon when Roy Halladay turned in a clunker against the Tigers. In 2 2/3 innings, Halladay allowed seven runs on six hits and four walks. He also allowed 11 of the 18 hitters he faced to reach base.
Regardless, Halladay chalked up the clunker to a more intense throwing program and said he felt a bit lethargic when he took the mound.
“I was really lethargic,” he said. “Warming up it was as good as it has been all year. Once we got out there (in the game) it was completely different. I think it’s just that time of spring. You’re going all the time. We had an extra day so I threw two bullpens in between, and you’re trying to work on as much stuff as you can. So I really feel that kind of caught up with me today.”
It happens. If that's the case, then it's no big deal. A day to recoup and rest ought to do the trick. Sure, the velocity on Halladay's pitches are not what they used to be, but then again, he turns 36 in May. As an athlete, Halladay is slightly past his prime though far from finished. And as a major league pitcher, Halladay simply is in the stage of his career where he will be making adjustments. While the so-called power pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver could continue to fire away into their 40s, Halladay will rely on his secondary pitches more. In fact, after his second spring outing in Tampa this month Halladay said he had been throwing his curveball earlier than usual.
After Tuesday's clunker, Halladay said he felt no soreness. As Salisbury wrote:
“The good part is there’s no soreness. Nothing hurts. And I’ll trade that any day of the week, feeling lethargic over being sore like last spring training.”
Again, it happens. Is there cause for concern? Sure. Halladay isturning 36 and headed into his 16th big league season. He's had injuries before, including the one last season where MRI results showed "changes" in his rotator cuff.
However, if there truly is something more to Halladay's bad outing and he's hurt, the Phillies know they cannot afford it. Last season the spate of injuries left the Phillies with a wasted season.
In the meantime, Cliff Lee will take the mound against the Yankees in Tampa in a rare spring 7:05 p.m. start.