This post originally appeared on April 24, 2011, Easter. Enjoy.
In the span of three hours, we witnessed near-miraculous achievements by the Sixers, Phillies, and Flyers. The Sixers somehow came back against the Heat, Roy Halladay struck out 14, Shane Victorino hit an inside the park home run, and the Flyers capped off an amazing comeback to beat the Sabres in overtime. What an Easter.
Oh hey nothing to see here just Roy Halladay whose career has taken a mysterious downturn after nagging injuries and a seeming inability to pitch in the heat has chipped away at his effectiveness and velocity and a recent stomach bug caused him to OH MY GOD HE LOST 10 POUNDS IN TWO DAYS.
Roy Halladay has lost 10 pounds over the last few days, but he hopes to be strong enough to make his next start Saturday in Sarasota.
“I’m feeling better,” he said late Tuesday morning. “My stomach is better. I’m trying to get my strength back. I’m a little weak from not eating and passing fluids.”
First, that’s disgusting. Second, we’ve all had nasty stomach bugs, and while Halladay has substantially more extra (muscle) weight to shed than us mere humans, losing 10 pounds in two days is still a bit extreme, especially when you consider the fact that he was at the ballpark on both Sunday and Monday. Generally, the type of stomach bug that causes you to lose 10 pounds in two days also forces you to not get out of bed and pitch in a Major League Baseball game (!!!). Yeah, I’m still concerned about Doc.
Sadly, MLB.com’s very useful PitchFX cameras don’t appear to be installed in spring training ballparks, so it’s hard to validate these radar gun readings on a per-pitch basis, but the reports coming out of Clearwater today are not good. Roy Halladay was not Roy Halladay (whomever that is at this point). His fastball topped out at 88 mph. And while he likely won’t ever get out of the high-80s for the rest of his career, some speedballs were hovering around Jamie Moyer territory.
Bob Brookover of Philly.com was sitting with scouts: [Philly.com]
Of the greatest concern for the Phillies and their one-time ace had to be the way the ball was coming out of Halladay’s right hand. Depending on which ballpark radar gun you looked at, Halladay’s fastball was topping out between 84 and 88 m.p.h. Regardless of which gun was right, it’s obvious that Halladay’s fastball has lost the life it had during his first two seasons with the team when he was one of baseball's most dominating pitchers.
All those meatballs led to Halladay giving up seven runs in less than three innings.
After the game, Halladay, of course, said there was no problem:
But, problem: Last spring, Halladay blasted reporters for, well, reporting that there were injuries concerns. We sided with Halladay at the time, but by mid-season it became apparent that Doc’s rough spring was, in fact, indicative of a larger issue.
In his first three starts this spring, Halladay was very good. He struck out seven, walked only two and gave up two earned runs in 8.1 innings. Not bad. Until today. It would be wise to take Halladay at his word for this start… but, if he struggles in his next, well, then there’s cause for real concern. Very serious concern.
Utley got drilled in the left ankle by a Stephen Strasburg fastball in the third inning. There were two men on at the time and wayward pitch didn’t appear to be intentional, but that didn’t stop Halladay from retaliating an inning later.
“Yeah, that one slipped a little bit,” said Halladay, easing out a slight smile. “It slipped. That’s not necessarily the case, but I think we do need to protect our guys to an extent. I’m not saying that’s what happened. It slipped, but I think that’s important. We’ve had a lot of guys hit over the years. I think as a staff we need to do a good job of protecting those guys. Spring Training, I don’t think you’re necessarily trying to do it. But it wouldn’t have been the worst thing had it got him after getting one of our good guys.”
"I don't have any reason to throw at him, do I?" Strasburg said.
"I mean, I don't understand why they'd think I was throwing at them. Obviously you can tell the conditions weren't great and I yanked it in there. It's spring training. If you're going to throw at somebody or give a message in spring training, go ahead."
I’ve been sick for the past 36 hours (two weeks, actually), hence the lack of updates. But I sweated out my fever last night after housing a Brooklyn-style pizza and breadsticks from Dominos with Ms. CB (I think they inspired my body to void and purge itself of every foreign substance), and now I feel great. So while I get caught up, here’s a must-read story from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! about Roy Halladay being a legend:
Beyond the tangible numbers, there was always an intangible undercurrent to the praise foisted on Halladay. Players on every team want to be known as the workout king, the guy who will lift until blood vessels pop in his eyes. Baseball frowns upon this. The silent leader is a baseball trope, and Halladay embodies it. Getting up in the middle of the night to work out before everyone else isn't an affront to everyone else. It's a challenge.
"The legend grew bigger than reality," Halladay said. "Anytime you do something different, a lot of attention gets put on it. I've always tried to work hard. I'm not trying to show anybody up or do something spectacular for attention. I want to get ready. Those things take on a life of their own."
Roy Halladay met with the media today as part of the Phillies PR apparatus’s one-player-a-day thing. Halladay said that he feels good and is confident that he’ll be effective this year. He cited an unknown lower back issue as the cause of his problems last year, and said that he completely changed his offseason workout program, presumably from eating glass to eating nails focusing more on his back, Jules.
Unless he pitches 260 innings this season, vesting his option for 2014, Halladay will become a free agent. He hit that mark once before, throwing 266 innings in 2003, but that's highly unlikely for a 36-year-old. So, does he want to re-sign with the Phillies after the season? You bet.
"I don’t see myself playing anywhere else," Halladay said. "I don’t want to play anywhere else."
He seemed open to a hometown discount, citing how well he’s been treated by the Phillies, but that’s assuming the Phillies will want him back. It all depends on his health, obviously.
Halladay also wants to keep batters more on their toes this season. And Chase Utley had an idea on how to do it.
"Chase suggested drilling a few guys this year," Halladay said. "So maybe I’ll do that."
Last year, a segment of fans and talking heads espoused a disconcerting school of thought during Utley's eventual 3-month absence from the active roster. Utley, the suggestion went, was not honest with himself or the organization about his knees, and because of that, he hindered the Phillies' ability to replace him. My response to anybody who asked my opinion on the matter was that it was nonsense, and my explanation went something like this:
The ability to lie to oneself, and to believe those lies, is a fundamental requirement for an elite-level athlete. The measure of an athlete's psychology is his ability to convince himself that the impossible can be attained. That psychology extends to his physical health, which, at most points during a season, is somewhere less than 100 percent. An athlete's job is to convince himself that he is not in pain, and, failing that, that the pain is not strong enough to hinder his performance, and, failing that, that the pain that is hindering his performance is within his control, that it can be overcome with the proper adjustments, be they mental or mechanical.
A major league pitcher must convince himself that he is capable of performing a task that the human body was not meant to do. This season, Roy Halladay's mission is to convince himself of the irrelevance of the fact that his body turns 36 years old on May 14. Perhaps he will find inspiration in Chris Carpenter, his friend and former teammate who as a 36-year-old in 2011 logged 237 1/3 innings before pitching the Cardinals to a World Series title.
Or, Roy Halladay should acknowledge the fact that he’ll turn 36 this year and, instead of ignoring it, make adjustments to his routine and his approach, the way so many other successful, aging pitchers have done before him.
Or, you know, just pretend that he’s 22, a method of self-trickery that Murphy himself dismissed as, at best, unreliable (at worst, foolish) just a few paragrahs before claiming that it should be Halladay's mission.
Well, at least according to this Business Insider list of People Who Worked Incredibly Hard to Succeed. Doc comes in at number four on the list, just ahead of GE CEO Jeff Immelt and just behind Mark Cuban. Not bad company. The blurb about Doc:
4. Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay's workouts are so intense, others can't make it halfway through them
Cy Young award winning pitcher Roy Halladay is one of the hardest working man in baseball. According to Sports Illustrated, he routinely puts in a 90 minute workout before his teammates make to the field.
His former pitching coach told SI that when other pitchers attempted one of his workouts, none of them could complete half of it. His pre-game preparation is so intense that he had a personal entrance card to his former team's training facilities.
*Stop hating Ryan Seacrest. This is like the Joe Buck situation for me– everyone hates him, but I can’t understand why. He’s very good at what he does. He hosts a daily national radio show, the most popular TV show in the country, a show on E!, has a production company, and so on. Sure, you may not like the content or subject matter with which he deals, but if you’ve ever watched him dance around awkward situations and production gaffs during live broadcasts of Idol – in front of tens of millions – you know how skilled he is as a broadcaster, TV personality, or whatever. The worst thing he’s ever done was accept the job as the social media guy at the Olympics. He’s above that. Hell, he could have hosted the entire thing instead of Bob Costas and his tired shtick. Why Seacrest accepted a role to read Tweets is beyond me… unless, of course, he’s gunning for Costas’ job in 2016 and beyond. Although I suppose it would have been easier for Seacrest just to give Bobby Boy a stroke, like he did with Dick Clark. Because that’s what happened, right?