And, to no surprise, Roy Halladay took charge.
Speaking on 94 WIP Friday morning, Mitch Williams, a former Phillies closer and now MLB Network analyst, singled out Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee for the team’s mound struggles. Williams even insisted the club seek a new coach for its important arms.
"It may be time for a new voice," Williams told WIP. "It’s not personal. I think these pitchers have to hear something new. What they’re doing right now just isn’t getting it done."
It became a moment in dire need of leadership.
Prior to Friday’s win over the Marlins, Halladay took time to speak with reporters and firmly denounce Williams’ remarks.
"Coming from the mechanical wonder," Halladay said about Williams and his comments, per Jim Salisbury. "Yeah, I strongly disagree. To come from a guy who's not around, who's not involved. He's not involved in the conversations ... honestly has no idea what's going on. He really doesn't. He has no idea what's going on in the clubhouse, on the field between coaches and players. To make comments like that, it's completely out of line.
"Watching Kyle Kendrick, the stuff that he's learned, the way he's grown, is because of Rich Dubee and it's because of his work ethic and the way he goes about things. It really does upset me. It upsets me that guys outside of our group of guys that don't understand what's going on here make comments like that. Hopefully, it's something he'll learn from. I'm not sure if that's the case, but he couldn't be further from the truth. And I don't think it's the first time he's been a little off base."
This wasn’t Halladay’s first go-around, either. That taking-a-stand mentality has become expected from the seasoned veteran.
If you recall, in spring training Halladay expressed the importance of defending teammates who are thrown at by opposing pitchers. In a Grapefruit League game, Chase Utley was plunked by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. The ensuing inning, Halladay threw behind the back of Nationals outfielder Tyler Moore.
Was it intentional? Halladay claimed it "slipped … a little bit," and that if it hit Moore, "it wouldn’t have been the worst thing after they (hit) one of our good guys."
He then went on to say this: "I think we do need to protect our guys to an extent. I’m not saying that’s what happened — it slipped — but I think that’s important. We’ve had a lot of guys hit over the years and I think as a staff we need to do a good job protecting those guys."
And who can forget Game 5 of the 2010 NLCS. Halladay took the hill on a damp and drizzly San Francisco afternoon with the Phillies on the brink of elimination against the Giants.
Trailing 3-1 in the series and fighting to send it back to Philadelphia, Halladay willed the Phillies past Tim Lincecum and the Giants, all while battling through calamity: a groin injury, which Halladay kept secret for the duration of his outing.
"I think all of us, at this point, have kind of put our own personal stuff aside, and go out and play as a team and try to accomplish stuff as a team,” Halladay said after he threw six remarkable innings of two-run ball to propel the Phillies to a 4-2 win.
"They'd have to kick me out. I mean, I was going to find a way."
That took guts and leadership.
Yes, Halladay has been a different pitcher compared to what he was when he joined the Phillies. Since his arrival, the 6-foot-6 righty has notched a Cy Young Award, perfect game, no-hitter and a couple of postseasons under his belt.
However, he’s now turning 36 on May 14, his ERA is 6.75 and outsiders have questioned whether he’s got anything left in the tank.
But it’s the intangibles that Halladay brings — professionalism, work ethic, heart, just to name a few — that can impact an entire organization.
On Friday, it was leadership — an aspect of Halladay the Phillies can always count on.