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Are the Phillies overworking Roy Halladay?

May 24, 2010, 1:44 PM EDT

Roy Halladay had a rough afternoon against the Red Sox yesterday, giving up a season-high seven runs in a season-low 5.2 innings. It was just the second time in the past 96 starts that he’s allowed seven or more runs, so naturally Todd Zolecki of wondered if Halladay’s high workloads had anything to do with the poor outing.
Charlie Manuel replied “not a damn thing” when asked, and Halladay himself was equally as adamant against the workload being to blame:

From the horse’s mouth, it didn’t affect me. It was just a matter of not making good pitches. That’s the bottom line. You prepare yourself obviously all winter and all season to be able to handle the workload. That’s your job as a starting pitcher. I feel like I’ve done that and I feel good going out there.

Which is exactly what you’d expect Halladay to say, because he’s long been perhaps the most durable pitcher in baseball. However, “not making good pitches” is certainly more likely when you’re at something less than full strength, and as Zolecki notes Halladay was coming off a 132-pitch outing that was the second-highest of his career and a four-start stretch of 118, 119, 121, and 132 pitches that was the highest of his career.
I’m not suggesting anyone is to blame here, because even the best pitchers simply have bad games now and then. With that said, rarely has Halladay had this bad a game and even baseball’s premier workhorse can be overworked. That he’s throwing more pitches than ever before in his first two months with the Phillies seems like it could be an example of his new team taking his workhorse reputation a bit too far too soon.
And while both Manuel and Halladay deny it was a factor yesterday, Zolecki reports that Halladay did in fact adjust his pre-start routine by throwing on flat ground rather than the typical bullpen session in an effort to preemptively combat the increased workload. Pitching coach Rich Dubee also said the Phillies plan to give Halladay an extra day between starts whenever the schedule allows, so perhaps everyone involved recognizes the potential issue even if they’re telling reporters otherwise.

  1. Okobojicat - May 24, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Two headlines in a row that ask a question and start with “Are team X….” seriously guys, you’re better than this. Aaron, you may have dropped out of Journalism school, and you headlines over at at times leave a little to be desierd “August 16, 2009” and Craig, you may be a lawyer who’s training taught you to do everything in your power to hide anything conclusive until the very end, but you still can do better than this.

  2. Andrew - May 24, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    They might as well ride him hard. I know they have a lot of money invested in him and sold half the farm, but he’s not going to be in his prime forever.
    The last time he threw 130+ pitches he followed that up with a complete game shutout.
    Halladay also doesn’t throw all his pitches at 100% effort. Especially facing the pitcher means he should get more easy pitches into a game.

  3. Fast Eddy - May 24, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    If he takes his turn every 5th start, then he is not overworked. If they are using him more often, then it shows that they are desperate for pitching and may be overworking him. If he throws 130 plus every game, then he probably should be cut down a bit. However he and the pitching coach should know when he has had enough. Howe can anyone else tell that? Oh yes, if his manager was Dusty Baker, of course he is overworked. Don’t you know that he was the guy who ruined Prior and Wood? Ask any Cubbies fan. I suppose he overworked Ramirez and Lee too! That is why they stink this year.

  4. Joey B - May 24, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    He could be overworked, and trying to cut back here or there as conditions permit is a good idea, but the fact is that everyone in the Boston lineup has had some success against Halladay. His career OPS is .672 and his OPS against yesterday’s lineup is .821. They figured to score some runs and they did.
    Still, he has 20 more IPs than anyone on the Phillies, and 9.1 more than anyone in the league. And he projects to 277 at this point. And it is not like Philly is struggling to win a pennant.

  5. brady - May 24, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    The headline should read is Halladay overworking Roy Halladay? Anyone that is more than a fairweather fan or blog writer knows that Doc pitches every five days no matter what. I’m sure that the Phils would like to tone him down but they had to know this is how he operates. Regardless he is fine, his defence has not done him any favours and the Phils should be ecstatic that they have such an innings eater because their bullpen is atrocious.

  6. Adam - May 25, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    The Phils are overworking Doc. Why would you be putting him back out there in the 8th and 9th innings when the team’s already up? This question is in regards to his first 6 or so games when that would be the case…. Wouldn’t you want to save this guy for the second half and playoffs rather than having him throw well over 100 pitches in each of his first starts with his new team? He has great conditioning yes, but he is 34 years old now. Just a thought Phillies. Who’s the manager of the Phils Dusty Baker?? Yeeeesh. Let’s use common sense here.

  7. Breaker - May 30, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    How’s that ‘overworking’ looking now?
    I get it, it’s only one start and there is a long season still ahead, but the question does still look a bit foolish after his perfecto, no?

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