Roy Halladay‘s future with the Philadelphia Phillies is in question as we near the end of the 2013 season and possibly even his career. But as Halladay makes his first start of this month, there are a few factors to look for when watching him pitch.
Halladay is notoriously known for his “workhorse” pitching style. Since last season, however, Halladay has shown no signs of his ability to last a legitimate number of innings. After two starts of six and five innings since coming off the DL, the eyes are on Halladay to see if he can get into the twilight of a game.
At this point, his arm may not yet be strong enough to go that long and his conditioning could be in question. Either way, seeing Halladay take the bump during the seventh or eighth innings would be a good sight for the Phillies, who should acknowledge that as a victory in itself.
The second thing fans must look for is Halladay’s overall control. In all but one start this season, Halladay has walked a minimum of two batters. If Halladay can limit the number of balls he throws, that will force to hitters to hit and keep added runners off the base paths.
Adding to his control issues, there have been a plethora of times where Halladay has missed spots (sometimes very, very badly) and paid for it. Players have been zoning in on certain pitches and if Doc missed his spot, the ball is typically rifled into the outfield. He has to be able to paint the corners and pitch to where his catcher is calling.
The last thing Halladay has to do is get the tough hitters out. This year, both Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday are hitting .333 with a HR each against him. Carlos Santana is 1-for-1 with a HR, along with guys like David Wright, Ike Davis, Pedro Alvarez, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward all batting .333 or better against Doc.
These numbers are obviously skewed considering the amount of at-bats (or lack thereof), but Halladay has to get the key hitters in lineups out on a consistent basis to give this team a chance.
It may be too early to tell if Halladay has regained any of his old form, but every start is essentially an audition as to where his career can and will end up. As for now, I’m a firm believer that the Phillies will give him one more chance, but considering the circumstances and the depth of young arms that the Phillies have, we may never know.