2012 was a rough year for the Philadelphia Phillies altogether, but Roy Halladay specifically had one of the his worst years in the MLB. Halladay dealt with a nagging shoulder injury for most of the season and it lead to him missing starts and having some of the lowest numbers of his 14-year career. One of the many questions about the 2013 Phillies is whether Halladay can recover from last year’s struggles or if this is the beginning of the decline of one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The Phillies can not afford for their pitching staff to be a question mark again this season, especially Halladay. Despite Cole Hamels having arguably his best season of his career, the rotation as a whole dealt with injuries and lack of production. There are too many other question marks surrounding this team for the pitching staff to be one of them and their return to dominance begins with Halladay.
Despite being 35, there may not be a player in the league more likely to recover from an injury related season, than Halladay. He has one of the most intense workouts in the majors and refuses to take many days off. He has been seen running through Citizens Bank Park during the off-season, in shorts, during snow storms. He also will throw bullpen sessions after intense leg workouts so he can simulate what it will feel like to throw late into games.
The National League East will again be one of the tougher divisions in Major League Baseball this season. The Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals both finished above the Phillies last season and both have made big splashes in the off-season to improve their teams even more. If the Phillies have a hope of competing in the division, it will depend on Halladay returning to dominate status, Hamels continuing his great play and a resurgent Cliff Lee.
If starting pitching can again be the strong point for the Phillies, like in previous years, the team may get back to its winning ways of 2011, where they won a franchise record 102 games. That all begins with one of the best pitchers in baseball, Roy Halladay, returning to elite form.