With the way the Philadelphia Phillies have started this spring, it’s hard not to sense a bit of cautious optimism around the team in Florida. Chase Utley’s knees don’t seem to be bothering him and he has looked limber in the field. Ryan Howard’s Achilles tendon doesn’t seem to be bothering him and his hitch he ran with last year appears to be gone. Until today, Roy Halladay had looked decent in his first three starts.
There’s the key word: until. It was not an easy thing to watch as Halladay was shelled today by the Detroit Tigers in his 2 2/3 innings of work. Halladay allowed six hits and seven runs, walking four and striking out two. He simply didn’t have any control of his pitches and at times looked like he was just out of gas.
Halladay was lifted after 69 pitches, which wasn’t too much of a surprise because he had been scheduled to throw around 70. What was a surprise was the way he pitched.
Halladay worked between 85-87 MPH on the radar gun according to scouts, which is not a good sign for someone who has worked in the low 90s with his fastball throughout his career. It was the first sign of trouble for him this spring. Before today’s game, he had pitched 8 1/3 innings in three starts, allowing six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The Phillies have to be concerned with what happened to Halladay against the Tigers. At this point, it is hard to envision him as being someone who throws in the 90s ever again. That said, he can always reinvent himself. The concerning thing here is that he didn’t have his velocity in today’s game and walked four batters, hit one and left pitches over the plate. If the location disappears along with the velocity, it’s going to be a long year for him.
For now, the Phillies hope that Halladay’s claims of lethargy are just that and nothing more. Hopefully it’s just something they can file away and laugh about later in the season. However, after what happened to him last spring and last season, it’s hard not to be concerned with today’s outing. All eyes will be watching closely for his next spring start.