Just because “Doc” threw two good innings in Florida today doesn’t prove that he’s healthy. However, if Roy Halladay’s natural throwing arm is right this season, the Philadelphia Phillies have a good shot at making a playoff rebound.
Of course, the rest of the starting staff, led by Cole Hamels, has to do their part. The bullpen needs to be more than Jonathan Papelbon and Jeremy Horst-deep this season. The lineup needs to be consistent, the defense must be sound and the bench players must also prove their worth from April through September.
No one should underplay how the loss of one of the great starting pitchers of the past decade affected Charlie Manuel’s 2012 squad. The Phillies’ skipper was unable to mark Halladay in for approximately seven, or eight games last year.
In 2010, the staff ace started 33 games, winning 21 of them and the National League Cy Young Award. In 2011, he started 32 games, won 19 and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting. Last season he started 25 games and won 11.
For those who need to digitally dig a little deeper: In 2010, Halladay threw 252.67 innings, had a 1.041 WHIP and an 8.3 WAR score. In 2011, he threw 233.67 innings, had a 1.040 WHIP and a 8.5 WAR score. Last season he threw 156.33 innings, had a 1.222 WHIP and a 0.7 WAR score.
Can any sabermetric Sam, or Sally definitively say that his loss cost the Phillies seven wins? Well, they could. But, in reality we will never know for sure.
If Halladay finds a way to pitch effectively with reduced velocity and starts 30 games, he should pitch approximately 200 innings this season. With enough run support and a steady defense, he could win 17 games this year.
Six more wins would give the Phillies a record of 87-75, which won’t allow playoff access. Obviously, a variety of other positive efforts will need to be offered across the roster in order to gain admission to Major League Baseball’s annual fall dance.