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.

After 'soul searching,' Jaylen Watkins in line for major role with Eagles

After 'soul searching,' Jaylen Watkins in line for major role with Eagles

Every morning on his way to work, Jaylen Watkins drives down Broad Street toward the NovaCare Complex and thinks back to his three months on the Bills' practice squad.

The former fourth-round pick out of Florida in 2014 joined the Bills' practice squad after the Eagles cut him last Sept. 5 in what he has previously referred to as a “humbling” experience.

“I try to never forget that moment because it was definitely a soul-searching moment,” Watkins said on Wednesday. “Anyone who is released or fired from their job, you have to do some soul-searching.

“Every day that I drive down Broad Street, I think about Buffalo and how far I’ve come and just not wanting to be on a practice squad again. Nothing’s wrong with the practice squad, but my goal is to be on the 53 and making contributions to the team.”

Watkins isn’t just on the Eagles’ 53 after rejoining them late in 2015. For the rest of the 2016 season, he’s also expected to have a major role.

After Ron Brooks was lost for the season when he tore his quad tendon against the Vikings, Malcolm Jenkins is the Eagles’ new slot cornerback. That means that Watkins, 23, will be the second safety on the field in the team’s nickel package.

That meant that he played 46 snaps against the Vikings after Brooks went out. And with how much teams pass in the current NFL, he’ll probably play a considerable amount the rest of the season.

“It’s something that I’ve been waiting for and I’ve just been patient,” Watkins said. “I’ve been waiting for this experience, so I’m just excited. This week was amazing for me. ... It was good for me this past week to be in the game plan and putting yourself in position that this could possibly be me on the first play of the game.”

Jenkins has said multiple times that he enjoys playing as the slot corner, but until Brooks went down, the team thought it was better off with him staying at safety.

With the secondary shuffle, what’s different with Watkins at safety instead of Jenkins?

“Nothing really man,” the Eagles’ other starting safety, Rodney McLeod, said. “It’s been a next-man-up mentality this whole year. ... Guys have a lot of experience back there. I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat. It’s obviously an unfortunate situation with Ron playing great. But Jenkins is ready and so is (Jalen) Mills and Watkins.”

Watkins was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round in 2014 and played just four games as a rookie before he was cut at the start of his sophomore season. He spent three months in Buffalo, where his younger brother Sammy is a star receiver.

When Jim Schwartz became the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Watkins was moved to safety. He quickly asserted himself as the first option off the bench at that position.

And just like McLeod and Jenkins, he’s a safety with a history and knowledge of every position in the secondary.

“He’s kind of our Tyrann Mathieu a little bit as far as being able to play safety, being able to play nickel, being able to play corner, being able to play all those positions,” cornerback Nolan Carroll said. “A swiss-army knife if you want to call it that. For him, it’s just about continuing to get reps, continuing to be confident.”

Jenkins, McLeod and Watkins are so interchangeable, Watkins joked that sometimes they get confused because they forget which position they’re playing. According to McLeod, there haven’t been any communication issues between him at Watkins when Jenkins moves down into his role as the nickel corner.

Watkins still thinks about his time in Buffalo, but he also thinks he’s a much better player now than he was before he went there.

“Just more confident player, I would say,” Watkins said. “My coaches believe in me. My teammates believe in me. Now, I’m just confident and relaxed when I go out and play, making plays, doing what I did in college. I think I’m a much better player than before.”

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds took a hit, the Eagles' Super Bowl odds shortened and the Vikings' lengthened after Sunday's 21-10 win.

The Eagles are 33/1 to win it all, a week after being listed by Bovada at 50/1. The Vikings, meanwhile, went from 7/1 to 9/1. They still have the third-shortest Super Bowl odds in the NFL and are two spots ahead of the Cowboys (14/1). 

Wentz, who had his worst statistical game against Minnesota, is now 9/1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada. Last Wednesday, he was 6/1.

Wentz trails Cowboys studs Ezekiel Elliott (2/5) and Dak Prescott (11/5) on that leaderboard.

As far as this week, Wentz is favored to throw for more yards than Prescott. Wentz is 5/7 to outgain Prescott through the air in Week 8, while Prescott is 1/1 to outgain Wentz.

Elliott's over/under rushing total against the Eagles is 99.5. He's rushed for 130-plus yards in each of his last four games, and the odds are 3/1 that he'll reach that number again this week. 

The Eagles have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, Washington's Matt Jones (16 for 135).

Elliott is also now on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. Dickerson had 1,808 in 1983; Elliott is on pace for 1,875. Will Elliott break that 33-year-old mark? A "yes" bet pays 2/1; a "no" bet pays 1/3.