Philadelphia Phillies Momentum Brought to a Thunderous Halt

By Charlie Lichty

The only Philadelphia Phillies players who appeared to have warmed-up sufficiently Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians were Delmon Young and Chase Utley.

Both Young and Utley hit solo home runs, but the rest of the firepower on display at Progressive Field came from the Indians. It was an awesome exhibition of what it means to go “yard”, and it quickly doused any hope the Phillies had of continuing their modest winning streak of three games.

Although the offense continued to sputter, the focus again shifted to Roy Halladay. The Indians must have thought the pitcher on the mound was John Lannan, not the former Cy Young award winner. Depending on the day, it’s an easy assumption to make.

David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

The post-game scrutiny of his poor pitching performance by Halladay and Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee followed a tired and trite litany of excuses targeted at Doc’s pitch selection, location and speed.

The truth of the matter rests with Halladay. Like most people who are still walking around, Halladay is getting older. He’s not the Halladay of old. Where’s the sin in admitting a fact of life everyone faces? He’s mortal.

His fastball isn’t blazing anymore, the cutter doesn’t cut as much these days, and his off-speed pitches don’t fool as many batters because there is less contrast between his fast and slow pitches. And when Halladay continually gets behind in the count, he pays the price.

Forget location and pitch selection, it’s survival. The proof is in the number of balls still circling the planet that were launched by Cleveland hitters.

It’s long past time for the Phillies and Halladay to do some straight talking. Maybe it’s not appropriate in baseball to admit something so obvious. If not, here’s a revolutionary idea — put him in the bullpen.

Really? Yes.

Other pitchers have had to readjust their games. If he truly wants to do what’s best for the Phillies, here’s his chance. Who wouldn’t want a strong, focused and determined Roy Halladay coming out of the pen and into the game somewhere around the seventh or eighth inning?

Those thunderous booms heard Tuesday night in downtown Cleveland were the result of the monstrous home runs blasted into the night sky by the Indians. The mention of Halladay being relegated to the bullpen would result in a similar earth-shaking boom in Philadelphia.

Nice idea. But, it’s probably not going to happen because that requires courage.  However, if Halladay provides more evidence of his fading effectiveness over the next several months, don’t say you didn’t hear it here first.

Halladay is going to the bullpen.

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