Roy Halladay on How to Talk to an Ump (and How Not to)

Roy Halladay on How to Talk to an Ump (and How Not to)

The last time Roy Halladay threw at Nationals Park in DC he wound up covered in icy champagne and beer as the Phillies celebrated their clinching of the 2010 NL East crown after Doc threw a complete game shutout.

That September victory was certainly not Doc's first successful outing against the Nationals. In fact, Doc was a fantastic 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA against them last season in which he allowed only one earned run and sixteen hits over three stars. He's also 8-1 against the Nats for his career.

Halladay hasn't missed a beat on the mound early in 2011, allowing one earned run in his first start against the Astros and keeping the Mets off the board through seven innings of work last Thursday. In what is perhaps the only minor knock on Doc early this season, Roy hasn't been able to pitch as deep into games as we become accustomed to seeing him do last year. Part of that is Charlie Manuel not wanting to push his ace too far in game No. 1 of 162, but it's also Roy being a little less efficient. At least that's what he'll tell you.

Doc was asked by Jayson Stark last Thursday following his seven innings of shutout work against the Mets if he's as dialed in as he's ever been. He admitted to feeling pretty good about his stuff, but wanted to be more efficient. This after throwing 21 first pitch strikes that day. That's like Jessica Biel telling you she thinks she's looking pretty good these days, but needs to do a few more butt crunches.

Doc did look a bit unhappy with home plate umpire Mike Everitt's strike zone on on a number of occasions against the Mets, and was seen chatting with him between innings. It's not the first time Roy has talked to an ump between innings, but what exactly is the conversation there?

"I'm just trying to find out, you know, really where he's at," Roy Halladay said. "I think for a pitcher it's always hard to see exactly where the balls are, you can't really tell if you're a couple inches on or off, up or down. Just trying to find out from him how close it was. Just trying to get a read really."

But isn't talking to an ump a tightrope walk that could get you in trouble?

"I think you get in trouble if you're asking in the middle of an inning, but most umpires are good if you wait until after the inning and you're not too rude about it," Roy said.

Doc also said that his status as one of the best pitchers in the game doesn't help him sway an ump into making any calls in his favor.

"I wish I could talk them into calling pitches for me but it's never worked," Doc said. "Really for me, I think it's two fold. One, obviously trying to find out where you're at, and two, I think anytime you can talk to those guys, they can give you feedback and at least you have an idea of where you're at and where they're at."

"Everybody I've ever talked to said to ignore them. Sometimes that's hard to do. I've had conversations with a few of them over the years. As long as you just establish you're trying to find out where you're at and not questioning your judgement, I think you're okay. As soon as you start telling them they're doing something wrong, that's when you start getting in trouble."

So all of you fans sitting out in the stands [yelling] at an ump for missing a call, Roy Halladay says you're doing it wrong.

*

Halladay (1-0, 0.69) vs. the evil John Lannan (1-0, 3.60) tonight, 7:05 scheduled start time from sunny Washington, DC.

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P