The game has not been a holiday for Roy Halladay in 2013. There were worries about his usually golden right arm in spring training and there have been concerns about what’s been happening in recent weeks. Now he admits something is wrong, although he doesn’t know what.
Halladay has been one of the premier pitchers in the sport for years and the Philadelphia Phillies need a health Halladay very badly, not a pitcher whose earned average after Sunday’s game was 8.65. Halladay is a potential Hall of Famer and an earned run average that high is a flashing red light something is terribly out of kilter.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound master of the mound is in his 16th Major League season. He will turn 36 next week, and although that is approaching senior citizen-hood for a thrower, there were no real indications that Halladay didn’t belong in the starting rotation anymore.
Last year perhaps offered some hints of problems with Halladay finishing 11-8 with a 4.49 earned run average. He spent some early-season time on the disabled list because of shoulder strain, but he came back in the second half of the season.
Most baseball fans don’t have a clue what Halladay’s real name is because it is never used: Harry Leroy Halliday III. The Roy part, obviously preferred, comes from the middle name. His nickname of “Doc” is an obvious one, stemming from the Old West character Doc Holliday. But the way Hallday threw everyone knew who he was, anyway, and no one was giving up on him after last season.
In the absence of any definitive major injuries, the Phillies, and everyone else, figured on Halladay being back in top form for this season. That has not happened. He was shaky in spring training and with his 2-4 start and that horrific ERA even Halladay confesses he’s got a problem. He’s about to undergo tests on his shoulder to explain the stiffness that is throwing him off.
Lifetime, Halladay is 201-104, a .659 winning percentage. During his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies he has won 22 games, 21 games, 20 games and 19 games twice. An eight-time All-Star, and two-time Cy Young Award-winner, Halladay authored a regular-season perfect game and a playoff no-hitter. He has indisputably been one of the top few starting pitchers in the game for more than a decade.
Given that history what Philadelphia saw of Halladay this season was not the Halladay of yore. As an ugly sampling his Sunday outing consisted of 2 1/3 innings pitched, four hits and four walks allowed, contributing to nine earned runs scored by the Miami Marlins. The Marlins, currently the worst team in the National League, have suffered most from an inability to score runs this season, so for them to rough up Halladay in such a fashion is grounds for suspicion.
After the game Halladay made his admission that yes, his shoulder has been bothering him. And general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that it was time to stop pretending that Halladay could tough it out without medical attention. Halladay conceded that is what he has been trying to do since April 24 and the shoulder has only gotten worse.
All good baseball fans can only hope that Halladay’s injury is minor and that rest and some time off will cure him. It would be a sad ending indeed if a pitcher of this caliber, known as one of the best of his generation, is forced into retirement before he’s ready.