Halladay failing to command 3 of 4 pitches

Halladay failing to command 3 of 4 pitches

September 12, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Roy Halladay has generated one swing-and-miss on 162 sinkers and cutters since returning from the DL. (USA Today Images)

Roy Halladay is running out of time to figure things out.

Halladay, who on Thursday starts for the fourth time since returning from shoulder surgery on Aug. 25, has made the Phillies’ eventual decision on his future no easier these last few weeks. He’s tossed two quality starts in three tries, but there wasn’t much quality in the last one.

Last Wednesday vs. the Nationals, Halladay allowed just one run on three hits over six innings but walked five and, for the second straight start, hit two batters. His control is off. His velocity still hasn’t returned. And he’s having trouble with his three of his four pitches.

Halladay has thrown 92 cutters since returning from the DL and gotten zero swings-and-misses. He’s thrown 70 sinkers and induced one whiff. That’s 162 sinkers and cutters and ONE swing-and-miss. That’s not easy to do.

It’s been difficult for Doc to command either pitch. More than 47 percent of his sinkers have been balls, and two of the hit batsmen came on that pitch.

But his changeup –- a pitch he’s needed more and will continue to need as he reinvents himself –- has been even worse. Opponents have hit .353 off it since his return from the DL with two doubles and a homer.

Halladay is so much different from his former self that it’s scary. In 51 1/3 innings this year, he’s walked 26 and hit eight batters. Prior to this season, he averaged seven hit batsmen per 234 innings.

Some may think this season has been a continuation of last season, but in truth it’s been much worse. Halladay has had multiple walks in nine of 10 starts this year. In 2012, he had multiple walks in just eight of 25 starts.

With 17 games remaining on the Phillies’ schedule, Halladay should have three more starts after Thursday’s meeting with the Padres. The way the schedule plays out, he’ll likely face the Marlins twice – in Philly and in Miami – and the Braves in the season’s final series.

Those might be his last outings in a Phillies uniform. Not what anyone expected from the pitcher who completed 26 percent of his starts and went 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA in his first two years here.

Age gets everyone.

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